THE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE BY POLICE OFFICERS: IMPLICATIONS FOR PREVENTION, TRAINING, AND TREATMENT
Lewis, J., Perera, A.L. and Van Hasselt, V.B., Nova Southeastern University, USA
Police officers throughout the world have been criticized for their use of excessive force with criminal suspects. In the United States many state and local police departments have implemented a use of force matrix to provide guidelines to officers in situations where the use of force may be necessary. While these guidelines provide police officers with appropriate responses to perpetrator resistance, in some cases excessive force occurs. Recent studies have revealed that although excessive force occurs in only a small percentage of incidents, these situations produce increased media attention, possible increased stress for police officers and departments, and legal and political consequences. This paper examines the issue of excessive force from a broad-spectrum perspective. It proposes that a tripartite model of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention be implemented. Specifically it outlines suggestions for prevention, training, and treatment with police officers who have been identified as using excessive force and/or receive a disproportionately high number of citizen complaints.