Date of Defense

Fall 11-13-2023

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Dr. Richard Stringer

Committee Member

Dr. Heidi Scherer

Committee Member

Dr. Beverly Reece Churchwell

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the potential impacts that mandatory police trainings, such as de-escalation tactics and use of force trainings, have on the number of suspects who are injured, shot and killed, and citizen complaints of unnecessary force used by police officers. An examination on training programs specifically aimed at responding to incidents involving people with mental illnesses will determine if the use of these trainings results in fewer suspect injuries and reported unnecessary force incidents. It is thus hypothesized that the mandatory enforcement of these mental health trainings within police departments will result in fewer violent or deadly interactions with police officers and less use-of-force incidents. Over five hundred police agencies were examined across the United States. The size of the agency based on the number of sworn officers is controlled for in the current study. Cross-tabulations, correlations, as well as a series of regression models are used for the data analysis. Three regression models show findings with and without the control variables, as studies suggest the implementation of use-of-force training and the size of the police department may affect use-of-force rates (Alpert & MacDonald, 2001; Hickman et al., 2021). This paper adds to the existing literature on the importance of de-escalation trainings by police departments and show if providing these mandatory trainings result in a decrease in injuries or death to people with mental illnesses when involved in an escalated police interaction. The results show that training provided to officers does not necessarily lead to a decrease in the number of citizens killed or injured during a use-of-force incident. These results suggest reconsideration of certain use-of-force training and police involvement with their communities.

Available for download on Saturday, June 08, 2024

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