Since modern policing started almost 200 years ago criminals most of the time never surrender on the first contact. Police and the use of force needed to subdue the suspect have seemed to always and will forever be under the microscope. This essay will be looking at the drastic changes from the 1970’s to present time and the correlations that might have caused the increase or decrease in effective means of force.
The 1970’s was statistically a dangerous time for society. There was a lot happening in the world both politically and physically, between the Vietnam War ending and political movements stateside. In 1972 the New York Police Department fired over 2,500 rounds in a use of force; this was because of the increase in crime and lack of appropriate staffing. In 1994 Mayor Dinkins of NYC implemented a “Safe Streets, Safe City” program which cause a large influx of officers. Almost immediately following the program the amount of police shootings as a use of force drastically dropped, with a 20% decrease from 1995 to 1996. After these successful results from NYPD, departments across the nation began to follow suit. This
is a positive situation in the public eye considering the police Use-of-Force Continuum was able to be dialed back.
Unfortunately not all use of force situations is positive and with the increasing amount of surveillance on the streets it is almost impossible to use force without it being “police brutality” in some areas. 40 years ago if a police officer used a night stick to subdue a suspect nobody would have thought twice, now it is considered to be excessive force in the public eye. Most of the exaggeration is thanks to media and word of mouth observations, statistically it is vastly different. In a study done between 1999-2000 police used force less than 1% of the time on calls for service. That same study revealed that there were 6.6 complaints per 100 sworn officers and of those 92% had insufficient evidence that it was excessive force. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 74% of people who had force used or threatened against them felt that the force was excessive.
If you look at the Use-of-Force conundrum from a statistical standpoint, crime has gone up and down drastically. Peaking in 1991-1992 crimes were 10,000 to every 100,000 people and have dropped 6% since then and yet the...