Police Use of Force

Police use of force is the application in a law enforcement capacity of physical or psychological coercion against citizens. Under the law, police officers have the authority to use force for enforcing laws, preventing criminal activity, defending others, and defending themselves. They have the discretionary power to use different degrees of force against citizens who choose to violate the law. Forceful responses can range from officer presence to the use of weapons. One approach to understanding forceful responses against citizens is psychological. There is psychological knowledge bearing on (a) how officers formulate and carry out their decisions to use force by encoding situational information, making a decision to act, developing a plan of action, and initiating action; (b) how officers' involvement in a force situation ...

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