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Building An Incident-Level Data Platform of Police Officer-Involved Firearm Shootings to Inform Police and Public Safety

Overview

This study will collect and analyze incident-level data on officer-involved shootings, other officer use-of-force incidents, and violence against officers, and qualitative data through document review and agency staff interviews from 30 large law enforcement agencies with high officer-involved shootings.

Status

Awarded

Purpose

This study will demonstrate the feasibility of assembling a comprehensive incident-level data platform of officer-involved shootings (OIS). By identifying risk factors for officers using force and having force used against them, findings from the proposed data analyses focusing on bi-directional use-of-force will inform training and policies to reduce OISs.

Approach

This study will (1) collect incident-level data regarding 7,200 officer use-of-force (O-UOF) and violence against officers (VAO) cases, including OIS, over the past five years; (2) review documents of O-UOF and officer safety training and policies; (3) conduct qualitative interviews with command staff, and (4) conduct focus groups with patrol officers involved in recent OISs, from 30 large law enforcement agencies with high levels of OISs selected from the National Representative Survey of Police Officer-Involved Firearm Shootings, where aggregated numbers of OISs in 1,000 agencies are collected. This multi-method project will answer the following questions:

  • What are the nature and longitudinal trends of officers being shot at or shooting subjects in law enforcement agencies with high levels of OISs?
  • What are the individual, situational, agency and community factors related to OISs?
  • How do changes in agency polices and trainings over the past five years play a role in changes in the prevalence of OISs?

Significance

Despite ample public attention, the lack of a national database of officer use-of-force and violence against officers has forced researchers to use various, often unreliable, data to produce non-comparable and sometimes biased results, leading to uninformed policies. This study will produce higher quality data to inform training/policies to reduce OISs.

Investigator Bios

  • Weiwei Liu, PhD., senior research scientist with NORC, is a criminologist with 15 years of research experience in criminal behavior and law enforcement. Dr. Liu is a co-principal investigator on a NCGVR-funded study of officer-involved shootings and several Department of Justice-funded projects to evaluate problem-oriented policing and police officer wellness. Liu has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters.
  • Bruce Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior fellow with NORC. His research covers areas of violence, health and justice. Dr. Taylor has conducted research with law enforcement agencies for more than two decades, across more than 50 studies. He is a co-principal investigator on several Department of Justice, NCGVR, CDC and NIDA projects studying violence, opioids, problem-oriented policing, police use-of-force, and officer health issues.
Grant Amount
$867,239
Award Type
Research
Organization
NORC at the University of Chicago
Investigators
Weiwei Liu, senior research scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago; and Bruce Taylor, senior fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago.
Expected Completion Date
July 2022
Year Awarded
2020
Focus Areas
Officer-Involved Shootings