Explanation of OIS data collection Initiative

On behalf of the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) and its partner, the Police Foundation, thank you for your support of this important initiative. The Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) Initiative is designed to assist the member agencies of MCCA in maintaining situational awareness of OIS incidents locally, regionally and nationally and to provide factual data on OIS incidents to better understand the causes and correlates of these shootings. By improving situational awareness and understanding of these incidents, we can better respond to questions from the public and the media about why and how they occur and take steps to prevent the loss of life and to improve officer safety as well. Importantly, this data collection and research initiative will also allow us to better understand shooting incidents that involve officer injuries and fatalities, which will better enable preventive efforts, including improved policy, training and procedures.

To accomplish these goals, it is vitally important to have consistent participation across all MCCA member agencies. This is because OIS incidents are, as we in law enforcement know, statistically rare occurrences. With this being the case, we need full participation in order to generate enough data to draw reasonable conclusions about what is occurring and why. This is also the reason why we are asking agencies to at least provide data from 2014 and 2015 in addition to submitting data on OIS incidents going forward, from 2016 and beyond. The survey has been designed to keep the data submission process as streamlined and simple as possible, including the use of tools and techniques that allow certain questions to be automatically skipped and to remain hidden if the circumstance don’t apply and the use of a data collection platform that makes submission from a mobile device and touch screen platforms very effective.

In the following sections of this document, we will describe and define the types of data to be collected and will provide submitters with an explanation for why the data is relevant to OIS incidents. There is almost no data being collected through the tool that is not needed to provide situational awareness of regional and national OIS trends or linked to OIS incidents through research on use of force.

 

Incident tracking information

 

Question Text:
Incident Number

This should be a unique identifier for this incident that is generated by your agency.

Why we’re asking:
We can use your agency’s unique incident number if we need to contact you regarding the incident report to clarify data submitted, address a problem or to request further details.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
n/a – administrative use only

Research basis for the data:
n/a – administrative use only

Question Text:
Status of this event

Allows you to indicate the current status of the incident in your agency.

Why we’re asking:
We want to be able to identify cases where information is complete and distinguish them from cases where information may need to be updated in the future

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
n/a – administrative use only

Research basis for the data:
n/a – administrative use only

 

Encounter Initial Report

 

Table of Contents

Question Text:
Date of incident

This is the date on which the incident occurred. For events that begin on one date and end on the next (e.g., initial contact at 2355 hours, final contact/end of incident at 0002 hours), please enter the date that your agency considers the date of event occurrence.

Why we’re asking:
This data is used for both administrative purposes (incident identification and tracking) and can be used to determine trends over time and seasonal variations and related factors in OIS incidents.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
With this data, we can provide you with better trend data and determine when incidents most often occur within weekly, monthly and seasonal patterns as well as weather related factors when weather data and incident data are combined. In other words, we can tell you what day(s) of the week, what month(s) of the year and what other conditions tend to produce or see more OIS incidents. This may be important for situational awareness as well as deployment and staffing considerations.

Research basis for the data:

Many in law enforcement have said that OIS incidents do not occur in a vacuum – they occur in high-crime areas and often involve dangerous circumstances. Including the date, time and location of the incident allows us to test these ideas and to better understand when OIS incidents occur in relation to other factors that have seasonal variations.

Question Text:
Time of call that initiated this incident (military time HH:MM)

These times should match the incident start and end time officially reported by your agency as closely as possible.

Why we’re asking:
Time or temporal data is important to knowing when OIS incidents most often occur, how OIS incidents may be affected by temporal crime patterns (e.g., are more violent hours of the day also the hours when OIS incidents occur?), and on the issue of sleep/fatigue and biological factors related to officer performance.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
This data will provide us with the ability to share data with your agency regarding when OIS incidents most often occur within the 24-hour day for purposes of situational awareness and potential deployment/staffing considerations. We can provide your agency with this data for your agency’s OIS incidents as compared to OIS incidents in your region and nationally.

Research basis for the data:
Many in law enforcement have said that OIS incidents do not occur in a vacuum – they occur in high-crime areas and often involve dangerous circumstances. Including the date, time and location of the incident allows us to test these ideas and to better understand when OIS incidents occur in relation to other factors that have seasonal variations. Additionally, limited research shows that shift assignment is a relevant factor in use of force events (Sun et al., 2008), and research has suggested that time of day is also related to shooting accuracy by both police and suspects, and may be a risk factor for bystander injury.

Question Text:
Nature of firearm discharge – Intentional or Unintentional

Intentional discharges refer to incidents where the officer intended to discharge the initial round fired regardless of who was hit (subject, bystander, or fellow officer). Incidents where the officer did NOT intend to discharge the initial round should be reported as unintentional discharges regardless of who was hit (subject, bystander, or fellow officer). For incidents involving both intentional and unintentional discharges, the circumstances of the initial round fired by any firing officer should be used to determine how the incident is reported.

Why we’re asking:
It’s important to show that some OIS incidents are not intentional but occur as a result of a potentially dangerous encounter where a firearm is deployed by an officer(s) and as a result of a variety of potential factors such as a physical struggle between the officer(s) and subject(s), there is a firearm discharge. This data is also useful for improving citizen and officer safety, as citizens and officers can both be struck by unintentional fire.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
With this data, we can tell you how many OIS incidents were intentional or unintentional within your agency over time, as compared to others in your region and in the U.S. and Canada. We may also be able to tell you what kinds of encounters or what factors in certain encounters nationally may lead to unintentional discharges. With this data, your agency could reassess training, policy, and procedure to attempt to reduce the number of unintentional discharges. It may also be helpful for agencies to better understand how frequently unintentional discharges occur in major cities overall and in what types of circumstances they often occur, should your agency need to explain an OIS incident to those in your community.

Research basis for the data:
Research has consistently found that certain movements of the human body (including use of upper and lower limbs with exertion, startling, and balance-related movements) have an effect on the risk of unintended muscle activity inducing involuntary discharges (Enoka, 1991, Heim et al., 2005).

Question Text:
Nature of precipitating incident at the time of initial contact

Nature of precipitating incident at the time of initial contact between the law enforcement officer(s) and the subject(s) involved in the OIS incident is meant to identify under what circumstances the persons involved came into contact with one another. This includes both officer-initiated and citizen-initiated contacts and contacts for various reasons. A list of common calls for service categories and NIBRS incident types have been included as well as an “Other” category. If you choose “Other,” you’ll be given a small text box to describe with a phrase or keyword, e.g., “custody dispute” or “subject appeared to be armed”

Why we’re asking:
It is critical to understand under what circumstances the officer(s) and subject(s) came into contact with one other. Those in law enforcement understand that some situations (e.g., domestic violence, traffic stops, etc.) are inherently more dangerous than others and we know that OIS incidents often occur in high-risk situations. The nature of the call or the reason for the contact is therefore vital to understanding the context in which the OIS occurred.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
With this data, we can tell you what types of calls and contacts or what types of policing activities or strategies are most often, across the U.S. and Canada, associated with OIS incidents. While there may be good reasons to suggest or assume that OIS incidents occur more frequently in special unit operations (i.e., warrant service, narcotics, undercover operations, etc.), longitudinal data across time and regions of the U.S. and Canada may provide other or even contradictory insights.

Research basis for the data:
Research consistently shows that officers are more likely to use force when evidence of criminal behavior is present, and severity of crime also predicts officer use of force (McCluskey & Terrill, 2005; McCluskey, Terrill, and Paoline, 2005; Paoline and Terrill, 2007; Rydberg and Terrill, 2010)

Question Text:
Source of initial contact

The source of initial contact refers to whether the contact between the subject(s) and officer(s) involved in the OIS incident was initiated by the officer independent of a call for service by a citizen through dispatch or by contact with the officer or whether the contact was initiated during a response to a call for service. For incidents where an officer makes contact with a subject that may be related to a previous call for service (e.g., subject meeting BOLO criteria reference earlier robbery), the incident should be reported as officer-initiated.

Why we’re asking:
It is critical to understand under what circumstances the officer(s) and subject(s) came into contact with one other. Those in law enforcement understand that some situations (e.g., domestic violence, traffic stops, etc.) are inherently more dangerous than others and we know that OIS incidents often occur in high-risk situations. The nature of the call or the reason for the contact is therefore vital to understanding the context in which the OIS occurred.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
With this data, we can tell you what types of calls and contacts or what types of policing activities or strategies are most often, across the U.S. and Canada, associated with OIS incidents. While there may be good reasons to suggest or assume that OIS incidents occur more frequently in special unit operations (i.e., warrant service, narcotics, undercover operations, etc.), longitudinal data across time and regions of the U.S. and Canada may provide other or even contradictory insights.

Research basis for the data:
Research consistently shows that officers are more likely to use force when evidence of criminal behavior is present, and severity of crime also predicts officer use of force (McCluskey & Terrill, 2005; McCluskey, Terrill, and Paoline, 2005; Paoline and Terrill, 2007; Rydberg and Terrill, 2010)

Question Text:
Was there information that suggested that the subject(s) were armed?

Indicate whether the responding officer(s) were provided with information that one or more subjects they will be encountering may be armed, or whether they believed that the subject was armed based on direct observation. For example, responding to a shots fired call or responding to suspicious person that appears to be in possession of a weapon or possible weapon. Similarly, if the officer(s) are responding to a domestic complaint or similar call for service and the officers are notified via dispatchers or other means that the suspect has a history of being armed, you should indicate “yes” to this question.

Why we’re asking:
The officer’s belief that a subject may be armed or is armed may alter how the officer perceives a threat.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Obviously, we can tell you how many OIS incidents were preceded by information being provided to the officer that the subject they have or will encounter is armed, which may be useful in explaining OIS incidents and statistics to the community, when needed.

Research basis for the data:
Research has confirmed that officers are more likely to use force when a suspect possesses a weapon (Johnson, 2011; McCluskey et al., 2005; Paoline & Terrill, 2007; Rudberg & Terrill, 2010) and this may hold true when the officers believe that the suspect possesses a weapon as well.

Question Text:
Agency jurisdiction

This is a drop down list of MCCA member agency jurisdictions.

Why we’re asking:
This information is needed in order to provide your agency with agency-specific trends and data, as compared to all MCCA agencies.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Agency-specific analysis and trend information can be provided.

Research basis for the data:
n/a – administrative use

Question Text:
Were multiple agencies on the scene when the shooting occurred?

This question is designed to determine if multiple agencies were involved in the OIS incident before and during the actual OIS. We do not need to know that multiple agencies responded after the OIS occurred, so if only your agency was involved in the incident, you would respond “No” to this question. A task force should be considered a single agency.

Why we’re asking:
The primary reason for asking this question is to disaggregate incidents when multiple agencies may report it, such as in task force situations or incidents that occur out of jurisdiction. Secondarily, there is research that suggests that the number of officers on scene can impact use of force decisions.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Primarily, we can avoid double counting incidents when we report data back to MCCA agencies. Secondarily, we can help improve our collective understanding of what happens in multiple agency scenarios and environments, such as task force incidents and incidents that occur out of jurisdiction.

Research basis for the data:
Use of force research (all force) has shown that officers may be less likely to use force when more officers are present on scene who can provide back up if needed (Lawton, 2007; Paoline and Terrill, 2004). Other studies have found that officers may be influenced by the presence of other officers to behave in accordance with certain professional norms (Garner et al., 2002; Paoline and Terrill, 2007; Terrill and Mastrofski, 2002). This research included all use of force and thus this data would be important for understanding if these circumstances hold true in OIS incidents beyond general use of force scenarios.

Question Text:
Was your agency designated as the primary agency responding to this incident?

This question is designed to ensure that we can differentiate the primary agency’s response from others regarding the same incident. The determination of primary vs secondary should be based on your agency’s determination.

Why we’re asking:
This question is to identify the primary agency responding to the OIS incident and to differentiate the primary agency’s response from another agency that may report the same incident (e.g., officers from two different agencies discharged firearms) to avoid double counting. We consider it to be one OIS incident even if multiple agencies and locations were involved, but because this scenario or incident would include multiple decision points in multiple contexts, we need to be able to analyze them separately.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Most importantly, we can avoid unintentional inflating of OIS incident numbers by ensuring that we know what agency is primary and which isn’t.

Research basis for the data:
n/a – administrative use

Question Text:
Number of police officers who discharged a firearm during this incident

Enter the number of police officers who discharged a firearm during this incident. If the exact number is unknown, it is appropriate to provide an estimate as the follow-up report can be used to correct the initial report.

Why we’re asking:
This information will help us all understand the context of these incidents and to what extent the officer may have felt that sufficient back-up was nearby or that other officers’ safety may be in danger, as research does exist that suggests that the number of officers on scene can impact use of force decisions. This number also tells the data collection tool how many officers we need to collect data on for this incident.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can help improve our collective understanding of what happens in multiple officer scenarios and environments and what happens when officers may be the only ones on scene or within nearby proximity.

Research basis for the data:
Use of force research (all force) has shown that officers may be less likely to use force when more officers are present on scene who can provide back up if needed (Lawton, 2007; Paoline and Terrill, 2004). Other studies have found that officers may be influenced by the presence of other officers to behave in accordance with certain professional norms (Garner et al., 2002; Paoline and Terrill, 2007; Terrill and Mastrofski, 2002). This research included all use of force and thus this data would be important for understanding if these circumstances hold true in OIS incidents beyond general use of force scenarios.

Question Text:
Number of subjects who police fired a weapon at

Enter the number of subjects that the officer or officers who discharged firearms were firing at. Subjects include persons suspected of a crime, or individuals contacted by the police during home, business, or welfare checks. Uninvolved bystanders, witnesses, or complainants would not be included in this number.

Why we’re asking:
This data tells the data collection tool how many subjects we need to collect data on and helps us understand the context of OIS incidents, such as the perceived threat(s) that the officer(s) was facing. The data is also useful in understanding incidents involving multiple subjects where only one subject was shot.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can help improve our collective understanding of what happens in multiple subject scenarios and environments and to better understand and explain the real or perceived threat facing the officer at the time of the incident, and why some subjects in an incident are shot and others are not (highlighting threatening behaviors).

Research basis for the data:
An obvious linkage between the number of suspects present and the decision to use deadly force can be made in light of the need for officers to assess the threat before them. Collecting this data will allow us to compare single officer-single subject incidents to incidents involving multiple officers and incidents involving multiple subjects.

Question Text:
Number of separate locations involved in this incident

Enter the number of separate geographic locations involved in this incident where shots were fired. If the OIS (and precipitating call/contact) begins outside of a residence (with or without shots fired) but ends within the residence as an OIS, this is reported as one location. If an incident begins with a traffic stop that becomes a pursuit with no shots fired at the scene of the stop but ends 5 miles away as an OIS incident, it should be reported as one location. If an incident begins as a traffic stop with shots fired (by subject and/or officer) and ends 10 miles away as an OIS incident, this is reported as two locations.

Why we’re asking:
The data helps us avoid unintentional inflating of OIS incident statistics, to inform the data collection tool (we ask for data about each incident location separately). Identifying separate locations involved in OIS incidents allows us to collect information about the environments where these occurred, directly through later survey questions and also by analyzing data from the U.S. Census and other sources

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can avoid unintentional inflating of OIS incident numbers by ensuring that we know what agency is primary and which isn’t. We can also carry out preliminary analysis of how environmental context predicts OIS.

Research basis for the data:
Some researchers have found that areas with more violent crime experience more police shootings (e.g., Fyfe, 1980). We will be able to investigate this issue using a wider range of data and measures of environmental context than has been possible in previous research.

Question Text:
Use of force during the incident

Please select the response that best describes when less lethal force was used during the OIS incident, including verbal commands, restraint, or weapons such as batons, Tasers, or pepper spray during the events. We also ask a follow-up question concerning whether an officer who shot a firearm had access to less lethal devices if they did not use them during this event.

Why we’re asking:
This question is designed to collect data to help us understand and explain attempts to gain compliance before deadly force was used and to identify de-escalation attempts.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
With this data, we can provide additional context for understanding these situations, which may assist agencies in assessing training, policy and procedure modifications as well as explaining use of force events to the public.

Research basis for the data:
To better understand OIS incidents and the extent to which police attempted to use less lethal options in the incident, data regarding use of force before, during and after the shooting should be collected (Klinger, 2016).

Question Text:
Number of police officers present when firearms were discharged (all incident locations)

Enter the number of officers present when the officer(s) discharged their weapons. If additional officers were arriving at the time of the incident and were likely within sight of the incident, please include them in the estimate of the number of officers present.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to know what the officers on-scene understood about the presence of other officers who could provide immediate, on-scene backup assistance. The presence or absence of other officers on-scene may also impact decision making in other ways.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell you important details about OIS incidents that could be used to reduce the number of OIS incidents and improve officer safety through modified policies, procedures, training or other means.

Research basis for the data:
Use of force research (all force) has shown that officers may be less likely to use force when more officers are present on scene who can provide back up if needed (Lawton, 2007; Paoline and Terrill, 2004). Other studies have found that officers may be influenced by the presence of other officers to behave in accordance with certain professional norms (Garner et al., 2002; Paoline and Terrill, 2007; Terrill and Mastrofski, 2002). This research included all use of force and thus this data would be important for understanding if these circumstances hold true in OIS incidents beyond general use of force scenarios.

Question Text:
Number of subjects present when firearms were discharged (all incident locations)

Enter the number of subjects present when the officer(s) discharged their weapons. If additional subjects were arriving at the time of the incident and were likely within sight of the incident, please include them in the estimate of the number of officers present.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to know how many subjects were on the scene when a firearm was discharged. A large number of subjects can increase the threat to an officer’s personal safety and make an OIS event more likely. The presence or absence of other subjects on-scene may also impact decision making in other ways.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell you important details about OIS incidents that could be used to reduce the number of OIS incidents and improve officer safety through modified policies, procedures, training or other means.

Research basis for the data:
Very little research has focused on whether the number of subjects on the scene influences OIS decision making and outcomes. Situational factors can however have a strong influence on police officers’ use of force decisions (Terrill and Mastrofski, 2002), and this warrants further research about how such factors may influence OIS.

Question Text:
Approximate number of bystanders present when shots were fired

Estimate the number of individuals who are on the same city block as this event (or within a 300-foot radius) but were not the intended targets of departmental fire. For example, if two suspects in a crowd are encountered by an officer and they begin to struggle for the officer’s weapon and the officer fires at both suspects, you would enter the estimated number of other people within 300 feet, not including the two suspects and other officers on scene. Bystanders in the context of this question could also be referred to as “innocents.”

Why we’re asking:
The presence of bystanders is important to know from the standpoint of the officer’s threat and safety assessment (bystanders could, in some cases, be viewed as an overwhelming force to officers in certain conditions (e.g., unruly crowds) and conversely, bystanders could change the officer’s decision to use force in light of concerns for their safety as rounds are fired.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Over time, we can help understand the ways in which the presence of bystanders impacts officer decision making and their perceptions of safety. As a result, we can improve training, policy and procedure to better prepare officers for these encounters.

Research basis for the data:
None – context and explanation purposes primarily.

Question Text:
Were any bystanders injured during this incident?

Indicate whether any bystanders (non-suspects) were injured as a result of the OIS incident. For situations where bystanders were injured as a result of the precipitating incident (e.g., disturbance) but not injured as a result of the OIS, indicate 0 or none. For situations where bystanders were injured as they took cover during the OIS, these injuries should be recorded as estimated numbers indicate. Injuries are those injuries that require medical assessment or attention and do not include likely bumps, bruises, soreness, etc. that cannot be reasonably determined by the Department.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand and be able to explain how often bystanders are injured as a result of OIS incidents and can aid in improving training.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Over time, we can adjust and improve training, policy and procedure to reduce the number of injuries to bystanders.

Research basis for the data:
Very little research has focused on bystander injury during officer-involved shooting incidents.

Question Text:
Did this incident involve police pursuit of at least one subject(s)?

Indicate whether this incident involved a foot pursuit, vehicle pursuit, no pursuit, or other type of situation.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand whether there is an additional element of risk involved in OIS incidents that involve a foot, vehicle, or other type of pursuit.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell you whether OIS incidents that involve a police pursuits are more likely to result in injuries to officers, subjects, or bystanders, and if so, how these injuries are likely to occur. This may assist you with training and risk mitigation.

Research basis for the data:
Research shows that police pursuits are dangerous and are may result in serious injury to the individuals involved, as well as other persons who may be nearby (see e.g., Lum and Fachner, 2008; Alpert and Lum, 2014). But there has been little research about pursuits and OIS incidents.

 

Officer data: Initial report

 

Table of Contents

Question Text:
Officer gender at time of incident

Enter ‘other’ if gender is unknown. In cases of transgendered individuals, indicate the gender that the person identifies as (if known). If this information is not known, select ‘other’.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand the relationship (if any) between officer demographics and features of officer-involved shooting incidents.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can provide you with basic information about how officer gender relates to features of OIS incidents. We may also be able to consider how officer gender relates to outcomes such as officer and subject injuries during OIS events, or how subjects respond to the police officer during the encounter (for instance, the amount and immediacy of resistance offered by the subject). This type of information may give police officers some perspective of when during an encounter they may be at particular risk based on their personal demographic profile.

Research basis for the data:
Findings about the influence of officer gender on use of force have been mixed, with some research indicating that gender is not a significant predictor of use of force (e.g., Lawton, 2007; Rydberg and Terrill, 2010; Terrill et al., 2008) and others finding that male officers are more likely to use force (Johnson, 2011; Kop and Euwama, 2001; Morabito and Doerner, 1997). We will be able to control for a wider range of situational factors when studying this issue using MCCA OIS data than has been possible in past research.

Question Text:
Officer age in years

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand the general effects of police officer demographics on involvement in OIS events, and whether there are differences in the circumstances surrounding OIS incidents for officers and subjects based on demographics, if any.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can provide you with basic information about whether police officers at different age ranges are more or less likely to be involved in OIS incidents, and whether the OIS incidents that officers of different ages differ in some way. If we find strong age-based differences in these events, this may inform your training and staffing practices, and may help inform agency response tactics or strategies to certain types of calls or incidents.

Research basis for the data:
Officer age when recruited has been identified as a significant predictor of OIS incidents, as police officers who start their career later in life were found to be less likely to use deadly force than other police officers (Ridgeway, 2015). By combining this variable with years of law enforcement experience (below), we will be able to better understand how officer age and experience with law enforcement may predict OIS involvement, if at all.

Question Text:
Officer years of law enforcement

Why we’re asking:
A police officer’s experience in law enforcement may make him or her more skillful at negotiating encounters with citizens. Law enforcement experience may also make an officer more capable during responses to OIS incidents, reducing the likelihood of injuries to officers, subjects, and bystanders.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell you whether officer experience has an impact on key OIS outcomes. If we find officers’ experience impacts OIS outcomes, this may indicate the need for training and experiential learning on the part of less experienced officers.

Research basis for the data:
Prior research shows that less experience police officers are more likely to use force than officers with more experience (Terrill and Mastrofski, 2002). However, this research has not examined OIS incidents specifically.

Question Text:
Officer ethnicity
Officer race

Enter the officer’s race and ethnicity based on official records or your best knowledge of race and ethnicity if official records are not available.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand the general relationship between officer demographics and features of officer-involved shooting incidents. By collecting this data for many agencies throughout the U.S., we may be able to add considerably to research in this area and to assist the law enforcement community by supporting factual conversations about use of force.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can provide you with general information about whether police officers who are of different racial or ethnic backgrounds are more or less likely to be involved in OIS incidents that have different types of characteristics, and how this relates to subject characteristics. It may also be important to understand regional variations in the relationship between officer characteristics, subject characteristics, and features of officer-involved shootings such as the likelihood of officer or subject injuries. We can also tell you how features of neighborhoods and locations influence any effects of officer demographic attributes.

These kinds of analyses would allow you to use the data to potentially reduce OIS incident likelihood, and train officers to recognize how encounters that have specific features may have more potential to devolve into a shooting incident.

Research basis for the data:
Past research has found that Black officers are 3.3 times more likely to shoot as compared to white officers, or officers of other racial or ethnic groups (such as Hispanic/ Latino or Asian police officers). Yet this research has focused on a smaller sample of officers than data from the major city law enforcement agencies will provide. Focusing on a wider range of cases from departments with a broader demographic composition should allow us to add to existing research in this area and potentially improve understanding.

Question Text:
Officer rank

Enter the officer’s rank at the time of the incident. In some department, ‘detective’ is a rank, and in others, it is a duty assignment; please make these selections in ways that best reflects this officer’s rank.

Why we’re asking:
A police officer’s rank is generally associated with law enforcement experience and police officers of higher ranks may be exposed to additional training about departmental policies, and are usually expected to enforce these policies. This increased experience, awareness of policies, and sense of responsibility for policy enforcement may all predict officer-involved shooting outcomes. Further, the rank of a police officer may relate to the types of suspect encounters that they become involved in, which are important differences to capture in the data and to share with major city agencies.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
This data collection differentiates between OIS incidents that involve police officers of different ranks to determine whether the subjects and circumstances surrounding the incident differ substantially. For instance, are police officers who are at different points of their career more likely to be injured as a result of an OIS incident? Are higher-ranking police officers more likely to be involved in an OIS incident involving a group of other officers, and if so, does their presence during the event reduce the likelihood of officer injury, or increase the likelihood that less-lethal force will be used before, during, or after the event?

Research basis for the data:
Most previous research on OIS focuses on incidents that involve patrol officers or traffic officers. This data will assist in examining how the individual and group rank composition of officers who are involved with OIS incidents affects incident outcomes.

Question Text:
Officer shift start time
Officer shift end time

Using military time, enter the time the officer became available for duty (started work) on that shift, even if the officer worked a prior shift on the same date. Shift end time is the time the officer went off-duty for the current shift.

Why we’re asking:
Examining the relationship between how long a police officer has been on their shift with features of OIS incidents such as officer and subject injury is an important issue to examine.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell agencies if, for example, the length of time that the police officer has been on duty is related to their risk of involvement in or injury during an OIS incident as well as how the time of day of OIS incidents may be related to peak periods of violent crime in the area, etc.

Research basis for the data:
Research generally shows that officers who are assigned to the day shift are less likely to engage in coercive activities when compared to other police officers (Sun et al., 2008), but does not consider whether the likelihood of an OIS or use of force incident is influenced by the amount of time that an officer has been on shift. Other research has suggested that OIS incidents may be more likely to occur in places and at times of peak criminal activity.

 

Subject initial report

 

Table of Contents

Question Text:
Subject estimated age

Why we’re asking:
This data will assist in analyzing the relationship between subject demographics and other attributes of OIS incidents.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
The circumstances that surround OIS incidents may vary according to the age of the subject. We will be able to tell you the nature of the relationship between the age of the subject and other encounter characteristics, such as the nature of the precipitating call or whether the subject or officer is injured during the encounter. If we find that there are correlations between subject age and important OIS outcomes such as officer or subject injuries, this may help to inform your training and procedures for handling certain call or subject types.

Research basis for the data:
Research on justifiable homicide by the police has found that half of all subjects involved in these cases are under the age of 24 (Robin, 1963). Collection of this variable is of particular interest in officer-involved shooting research (Klinger et al., 2015) and may be an important predictor of the severity of officer or subject injury during OIS incidents.

Question Text:
Subject gender at the time of the incident

Enter the perceived or known biological gender of the subject at the time of the incident.

Why we’re asking:
The relationship between subject demographics and other attributes of OIS incidents is an important factor to address and understand.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We would be able to tell you whether certain OIS incident outcomes are linked to subject gender. For instance, are officers more likely to be injured during an incident with a male or female subject? What types of initiating calls are likely to result in an OIS involving males as compared to females? We will be better able to study assist agencies in learning the effect of subject gender on OIS outcomes while including a wider range of individual subject and situational characteristics. This may allow us to draw more nuanced conclusions on gender effects that would allow us to understand the particular situations when subject gender could be more important to predicting outcomes.

Research basis for the data:
Most subjects who are involved in OIS incidents and use of force incidents are male (Klinger et al., 2015; Bolger, 2015), however little research has been conducted across a broad range of agencies and incidents.

Question Text:
Subject ethnicity
Subject race

Enter the subject’s known or perceived race and ethnicity at the time of the incident, if known.

Why we’re asking:
The relationship between subject demographics and other attributes of OIS incidents is important to examine through data.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
The types of initiating calls that predict an OIS may differ according to the race or ethnicity of the subject in question, as well as (potentially) whether the subject is of the same racial or ethnic group as the officers who are responding to the call. We can also tell agencies what more complete data shows about the role that race and ethnicity may or may not play in OIS incidents in major cities across the U.S.

Research basis for the data:
Prior research examining individual agency data has found that most subjects involved in OIS and police use of force are African-American (Klinger et al, 2015; Bolger, 2015). Including race in a comprehensive database about officer-involved shootings allows for further testing of this relationship, as past research has been constrained by a lack of data. This data will allow for a wider range of community conditions and incident characteristics to be analyzed (Klinger et al, 2015)

Question Text:
Data enterer name
title
email address
phone number

Why we’re asking:
We would like to follow up with the data enterer if we have any further questions about the data that has been provided to us. As this project progresses several different people may be responsible for data entry, and it would be helpful to know who was involved in entering particular data elements.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
n/a – administrative use only

Research basis for the data:
n/a – administrative use only

 

Officer detailed report

 

Table of Contents

Question Text:
Officer education level

Select the education level of the officer, if known.

Why we’re asking:
It may be important to know if and how officer educational experiences relate to OIS outcomes.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you how officer education relates to various outcomes in these cases.

Research basis for the data:
Prior research has shown that police officer education level is strongly correlated with officer use of force decisions, and that officers with more post-secondary education may beless likely to use force (Paoline & Terrill, 2004, 2007; Rydber & Terrill, 2010; Terrill & Mastrofski, 2002). Many of these studies have focused on single jurisdictions and a relatively small number of incidents; this data will be able to account for this effect while controlling for a larger number of situational and officer factors and will include a larger number of cases in the analysis.

Question Text:
What was the officer’s duty assignment at the time of this incident?

Enter the officer’s assignment at the time of the incident.

Why we’re asking:
Most of the previous research about use of force and officer-involved shootings has focused on the activities of traffic control and patrol officers. It is important to examine how frequently officers with various unit assignments are involved in OIS incidents, and if there is a link between assignment to special units, risks associated with certain activities, and OIS outcomes.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Police officers who are assigned to different types of units may encounter situations that place them at different risk of OIS involvement. We wish to study this issue, as well as whether police officers who are assigned to different duties may be more at risk of injury during OIS, or are more likely to be involved in an incident with serious subject or bystander injury. By collecting data on what types of assignments may be associated with OIS incidents, we can assist agencies in explaining the dangerous nature of these assignments and clarify how OIS incidents relate to them vs general patrol.

Research basis for the data:
Ridgeway (2015) found that officers who are assigned to general patrol as opposed to special units were less likely to be involved in an officer-involved shooting. Previous research also shows that off-duty police officers are frequently involved in OIS incidents (White, 2000).

Question Text:
Description of the weapon fired by the officer (select all that apply). We ask a number of questions about weapon type, caliber, and magazine capacities.

Description of the weapon fired by the officer (select all that apply). We ask a number of questions about weapon type, caliber, and magazine capacities.

Why we’re asking:
There has been very little research about whether the type of weapon that a police officer uses during an OIS incident has an effect on OIS outcomes such as officer or subject injury. We know that most subjects who are struck by police gunfire survive (Klinger, 2015; Alpert, 1989; Geller and Scott, 1992; Klinger, 2012), but we know very little about how the firearms that police are using relate to these outcomes.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We would be able to study how the type of firearm that an officer uses relates to officer or subject injuries. If for instance officers who use a heavy caliber of rounds are no less likely to be injured by subjects, but are more likely to cause serious harm or death to subjects who are struck by the rounds, this may affect decisions that police departments make about the weapons issued to police officers. The accuracy of officer fire during OIS may also vary by weapon type, and this is another critical concern to police departments.

Research basis for the data:
Most research about officer weapon use has focused on less lethal technologies rather than firearms. This data will add significantly to practical knowledge about the effects of police firearms during OIS.

Question Text:
Number of rounds fired

Why we’re asking:
Very little research has focused on whether different officer, subject, location, or situational factors may lead to a larger number of rounds fired during an officer-involved shooting incident. Yet this is a critical concern during an OIS, as a larger number of rounds fired may pose risks for other officers, subjects, bystanders, or property.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you whether police officers fire a larger volume of rounds in particular circumstances, such as when the subject is at a farther distance, when the officer’s weapon is of a smaller caliber, or when more police officers are on scene. If we find that police are more likely to fire a larger number of rounds under certain circumstances, then this may help your agency train officers under more realistic conditions that simulate those when an officer is likely to fire multiple rounds to improve officer accuracy under these conditions.

Research basis for the data:
There has been little research about whether situational factors influence the number of rounds fired by police officers. A recent study by White and Klinger (2012) found that the presence of multiple officers during a call for service does not increase the likelihood of more rounds being fired when incident, officer, and subject characteristics are accounted for. However, this research focused on a single department and did not include the broad range of predictors included in the MCCA/ Police Foundation data collection effort.

Question Text:
How many officer-involved shooting incidents has this officer been involved in?

Enter the number of incidents known or estimated, only including those in which the officer discharged a firearm. Do not include in this count the number of OIS incident scenes the officer has been at but not discharged a firearm.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand how an officer’s prior experiences with officer-involved shootings may predict future involvement. Officer-involved shootings are often traumatic events for the officers, subjects, and bystanders involved. Knowing more about how widespread repeat-participation in OIS is in U.S. police departments as this may have implications for training, treatment needs, and duty assignments of officers.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell you what role, if any, prior OIS incidents may play in future OIS incidents as well as how prior OIS incidents may correlate with other factors, including things like injuries to officers and additional OIS incidents. Other factors such as OIS involvement as related to high-crime area and time assignments can be analyzed and shared with agencies.

Research basis for the data:
Ridgeway (2015) found that prior OIS involvement is an important component of measures of an officer’s overall work performance, and contributes to the likelihood that a police officer will be involved in an OIS incident.

Question Text:
How many officer-involved shooting incidents has this officer been involved in?

Prior to this incident, has the department ever initiated an investigation as a result of excessive force allegations about this officer? Based on your current records, how many citizen complaints or department reports have been generated concerning excessive use force by this officer?

Enter the number of known or estimated allegations of excessive force made against the officer (generated from either citizen complaints or sources within the department), within the limits of agency policy and/or record keeping.

Why we’re asking:
Police officers’ prior use of force record may be an important factor for agencies to consider, but it is important to understand how particular types of complaints may better predict future OIS incidents.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Police departments may have a particular group of officers whose duty assignments or behavior lead to repeated conflicts with citizens, placing them at elevated risk for OIS involvement. If we find that there are common factors such as involvement in use of force investigations that increase the likelihood of officer involvement in OIS, we may be able to develop risk assessment tools for police agencies to provide an early warning about at risk officers or help agencies modify staff allocations to minimize risks

Research basis for the data:
Ridgeway (2015) found that citizen complaints and investigations of excessive use of force could be important predictors of officers’ involvement in OIS incidents.

Question Text:
Did your department or an external organization review this officer’s actions for compliance with relevant departmental, police, and local or state laws? Who carried out the review?

Indicate whether a review of the officer’s use of force during this incident has been carried out, and if so, which agency carried out the review.

Why we’re asking:
Little is known about standard police department practices concerning investigating use of force incidents, or who does these investigations.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We can tell you the circumstances that lead police organizations to carry out reviews of police officers’ actions during an OIS incident, and who does these reviews. Police agencies do not have access to basic nation-wide information about these issues that may inform their own practices and decisions when responding to OIS incidents.

Research basis for the data:
Researchers have not previously had access to information about the results of police investigations concerning OIS events.

Question Text:
Did your department or an external organization review this officer’s actions for compliance with relevant departmental, police, and local or state laws? Who carried out the review?

Did your department take any administrative or disciplinary action in response to this officer’s actions during this event?

Administrative action might include training, counseling, or assistance to the officer in the aftermath of the incident. Disciplinary action may include suspension, demotion, or termination, depending on your agency’s policies.

Why we’re asking:
There is little information about what happens to the individual officers who are involved in OIS incidents. A wide range of departmental responses may be appropriate on the basis of the circumstances surrounding these incidents.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
A department’s response to OIS incidents involving their officers may vary based on the nature of the incident and shape later officer outcomes. We would be able to tell you nationwide data on department practices, which may give you context for understanding your own department’s practices and policies.

Research basis for the data:
While we know that OIS incidents are stressful to the officers involved and may result in a number of adverse mental health outcomes, little is known about responses to these issues on the department level.

Question Text:
Estimated distances between officer and subject when first round was fired, at closest range, and at farthest range.

Please give your best approximation of the distance between the officer and subject during this encounter in feet. We understand that it may be difficult for the officer to accurately estimate this distance.

Why we’re asking:
In general, police officers’ risk of injury increases as their proximity to a hostile or attacking subject decreases. We ask for an estimate of distances between officers and subjects to understand how relative proximities may predict officer and subject injuries, as well as other encounter outcomes.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Our analysis may be able to find differences in how encounter, officer, and subject characteristics correlate with the proximity of officers and subjects. We could assess and report to agencies, for instance, whether police are more likely to come into close contact to subjects during encounters that are initiated for different reasons (such as domestic violence) or during traffic stops. We are also interested how officer/ subject proximity during different phases of an officer-involved shooting could predict the type and severity of injury.

Research basis for the data:
21 feet is generally accepted as the distance required for an officer to recognize a threat and draw and fire a firearm to defend him or herself against a suspect with an edged weapon. There has been little research about how proximity between officers and subjects relates to risk of injury for various weapons, which is a potential contribution from these items.

Question Text:
Was this officer injured during this incident (including minor injuries)? Source of injury, type of injury, and severity of injury. Was the officer able to return to work after this injury?

Police officers involved with OIS incidents are often in direct physical danger and may experience physical injuries from a number of sources, including gunshot wounds or injuries caused by a blunt instrument. The injury may be caused by a subject during the encounter, because of a hazardous environment, or accidentally because of the actions of another police officer. Injuries may range in severity, from minor to severe bodily injury or death.

Why we’re asking:
Officer injuries are an extremely important outcome to measure during officer-involved shooting incidents. Studying officer injury during OIS incidents may help with developing training and policy recommendations.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to use data about officer injuries to study the types of encounter, location, officer, and situational characteristics that are most likely to lead to officer injury. This is critical information for officer training and risk management efforts as well as for contextual purposes in explaining these incidents.

Research basis for the data:
Klinger (2015) recommends that a national OIS database should collect data on officer, victims, hostages, and bystanders. This database will include data concerning a wide range of potential predictors of officer injuries, and collecting this data would be a major contribution to research and practice in this area.

 

Subject data: Follow-up Report

 

Table of Contents

Question Text:
Subject name

Why we’re asking:
We would like to link subject data collected in the MCCA OIS database to data collected in other systems, such as the CDC’s National Violent Dearth Reporting System (NVDRS) (where possible) to allow for a richer analysis of subject-level data, including whether the subject was diagnosed with a mental health condition or presence of intoxicants in the subject’s system or to obtain the subject’s full criminal history.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
N/A, administrative in nature

Research basis for the data:
N/A, administrative in nature

Question Text:
Subject date of birth

Why we’re asking:
Subject age is a potential predictor of OIS shooting incidents. We’re interested in examining whether encounter and location characteristics make OIS events involving younger or older subjects more likely.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to analyze and share with your agency how subject age relates to the type of initiating events, locations involved in OIS incidents, as well as how subject age relates to severe injuries to officers and subjects. We may also be able to analyze whether there are regional variations in the average age of subjects, which may indicate that particular crime problems or community issues may lead subjects within different age groups to be involved in OIS events. This may assist police departments with training and risk assessment activities.

Research basis for the data:
Research about police use of deadly force has found that half of subjects involved in these incidents were under 24 years of age. This measure is also suggested by Klinger et al. (2015) for inclusion in a national OIS database.

Question Text:
Subject criminal history, number of years the subject has spent in prison, jail, or a correctional facility, and nature of previous criminal history.

Criminal history may include any known arrests, convictions, or incarcerations of the subject. Agencies are also asked to indicate the types of offenses that the subject has been charged with, as well as the duration of previous incarceration if applicable.

Why we’re asking:
It is important to understand how the criminal history of the subject may predict various OIS outcomes. Subjects that have previous contact with the criminal justice system, or who have served time in a prison or jail may behave differently during interactions with the police than the general population.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you how likely an OIS incident is to involve a person with a prior criminal record. We will also be able to link previous criminal record to officer and subject injury outcomes. This type of information may help to shape officer training and risk management practices. This data will also assist agencies in providing context for who is involved in OIS incidents.

Research basis for the data:
This measure is suggested by Klinger et al. (2015) as a component of an OIS incident database. Previous research has not focused on whether a subject’s prior criminal history impacts officer-involved shooting outcomes; this data would be a major contribution to research in this area.

Question Text:
Did dispatch, complaint, or officers on the scene note that the subject appeared to have a mental disability, neurological disability, or appear to be under emotional distress that led to an inability to act rationally, exercise self-control, or take reasonable care of his or her welfare?

A mental disability might include a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. A neurological disability might include epilepsy or cerebral palsy. Because mental illness cannot be diagnosed by an officer on the scene and he or she may not be able to determine whether a person actually has a mental illness, we include emotional distress in this question to capture someone who appeared to act irrationally or in a way that indicated that they were not capable of controlling their behavior, but may not have any formal mental health diagnosis.

Why we’re asking:
Subject mental health status may be a strong predictor of the officers’ ability to control and resolve an encounter without resorting to a use of force incident. It is also important to investigate whether mental health status or emotional distress is related to officer and subject injuries, and if so, under what circumstances.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you if certain situations, locations, or subject characteristics lead to outcomes such as injury and death when an encounter involves a person with mental illness or who is under severe emotional distress. We would also like to examine whether police officers’ response to OIS events (number of officers who are present, use of less lethal force), have an impact on the outcomes of events involving a person with mental illness or under severe emotional distress. It is also important for contextual purposes for agencies to know how many OIS incidents in the U.S. involve subjects with mental illness and potential suicide by cop motivations.

Research basis for the data:
There is little research about whether persons who suffer from mental illness are subjected to use of force more often than other people (Bolger, 2015). Subject mental health history is strongly correlated with involvement in suicide-by-cop incidents (Mohandie et al., 2009).

Question Text:
Did officers perceive or have information that suggested that the subject appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Please indicate what type of substance(s) that the subject appeared to have used.

Information suggesting that the subject appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol might be obtained from the complainant, dispatch, or through officer’s direct observations of the subject.

Why we’re asking:
Understanding how subject drug and alcohol use relates to critical officer-involved shooting outcomes such as subject and officer injury, and understanding the circumstances under which a police officer is likely to be involved with an OIS incident that includes a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol is critically important.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you whether a subject’s drug or alcohol use impacts the likelihood of an OIS incident, how many OIS incidents involve subjects who are impaired and whether intoxication increases, decreases, or does not affect the likelihood that an officer or the subject will be injured during an OIS. We will also be able to examine the relationship between various situational characteristics of OIS incidents (such as officer and subject proximity, weapons used by subjects, and subject behavior), and drug or alcohol use.

Research basis for the data:
Suspects who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to be subjected to forceful treatment by police officers (Engel et al., 2000; Paoline & Terrill, 2007; Rydberg & Terrill, 2010; Terrill et al., 2008).

Question Text:
Subject’s level of resistance during the encounter

Resistance may be passive (refusing to obey officer’s directions), or involve attempts to flee the scene, in addition to direct physical attacks of a police officer. All types of resistance displayed by the subject during the entire encounter should be recorded.

Why we’re asking:
The amount of compliance or resistance exhibited by the subject may be an important predictor of OIS outcomes. We will examine how compliance and resistance relates to various encounter, officer, and location characteristics.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
Subjects who have different socio-demographic backgrounds, criminal backgrounds, or mental or drug abuse issues may be more or less likely to resist. We can tell you how many OIS incidents involved resistance and what types of resistance and assist agencies in improving training and policies to address response to resistance types.

Research basis for the data:
Suspect compliance and demeanor may influence police use of force generally (Crawford and Burns, 1998; Bolger, 2015). However, there is limited research on the effects of subject resistance on OIS decisions and outcomes.

Question Text:
Was the subject injured during this incident? What was the source of the injuries to this subject? What was the cause of the injury to the subject? What was the severity of the injury to the subject?

Was the subject injured during this incident? What was the source of the injuries to this subject? What was the cause of the injury to the subject? What was the severity of the injury to the subject?

Subjects involved with OIS incidents are often in direct physical danger and may experience physical injuries from a number of sources, including gunshot wounds or injuries caused by a blunt instrument. The injury may be caused by an officer during the encounter, because of a hazardous environment, or because of the actions of another subject or bystander. Injuries may range in severity, from minor to severe bodily injury or death.

Why we’re asking:
Subject injury outcomes are some of the most critical measures to include in an OIS database. While many OIS incidents lead to unavoidable and severe subject injury outcomes, certain situational factors involved in incidents may increase or reduce the odds of injury.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to link characteristics of encounters, officers, and subjects to the subject injury outcomes. For instance, we would be able to examine whether OIS events that are initiated by particular types of calls or in particular locations are more likely to lead to subject injuries or death. This is critical information for officer training and risk assessment activities.

Research basis for the data:
Klinger et al. (2015) suggest that subject injury data should be collected as a component of any OIS database. The ratio of fatal to non-fatal police shootings is not constant over time and place, suggesting that underlying factors involved with a particular OIS incident may impact subject injury outcomes. (Geller, 1992; Klinger, 2012).

Question Text:
Did the subject possess a firearm? Which type of firearm did the subject possess? Did the subject use or threaten to use any other type of weapon? How did the subject use the weapon?

A firearm could include a pistol, shotgun, or rifle. In addition to firearms, a subject may possess knives or edged weapons, blunt instruments such as baseball bats, or other items such as chains or beer bottles that could be used as a weapon.

Why we’re asking:
Detailed information about the type of weapon that a subject possessed and what the subject did with the weapon is important for understanding officer decision making during an officer-involved shooting. Information about subject weapon use is very likely to be related to officer and subject injury outcomes.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
While significant research has focused on how subject possession of a weapon impacts officer decision-making, less attention has focused on how subject behavior with a weapon during an encounter relates to OIS outcomes. We would be able to tell you how frequently police fire a weapon at a subject who is displaying different types of behavior with weapons. We can also share with agencies how often OIS incidents occur that involve armed vs unarmed subjects, an important contextual fact in the explanation of officer use of force.

Research basis for the data:
Police are more likely to use force when a suspect uses a weapon (Johnson, 2011; McCluskey et al., 2005; Paoline & Terrill, 2007). Klinger et al (2015) suggests collection of suspect weapon use data to record officer-involved shootings. Subject weapon use is also an important control for subject characteristics such as race and gender, as for instance African-Americans are more likely to possess weapons when arrested than whites are.

Question Text:
Final call disposition for this subject. What type of crime was the subject charged with (if applicable)?

Final call dispositions may include arrest, charges, or referral to other agencies, or more than one of these. You may indicate as many types of crimes as are applicable when identifying the type of crime that the subject was charged with, and also indicate multiple types of offenses in the box if you select ‘other’ in response to this question.

Why we’re asking:
We want to identify the most common types of outcomes that occur after an officer-involved shooting. On rare occasions, officers may fire on a subject on the basis of incorrect information or during an ambiguous situation that may not result in an arrest or charge. During the event, a subject or subject(s) who are involved with a call may commit additional offenses, take hostages, or the call may be reclassified by the officers on the scene as more facts become clear.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We would be able to tell you what sort of charges are the most common result of OIS events, which would give an indication of the seriousness of the incident that prompted the OIS. If relatively non-serious incidents often escalate to OIS events, this may imply the need to improve the tactics and procedures involved in responding to those calls to reduce the frequency of escalation of resistance and use of force from the initiation to the conclusion of an encounter.

Research basis for the data:
Klinger et al. (2015) suggests that a national OIS database should record the severity of the criminal charges in an event to determine whether use of force was proportional to the severity of the crime.

 

Location Data: Follow-up Report

 

Table of Contents

Question Text:
Number of officers present at this location, number of subjects present at this location

While these numbers may be an approximation for each location, they will provide some information about how individuals involved in this OIS incident proceeded from location to location.

Why we’re asking:
Information about the number of officers and subjects at a location may determine how a call proceeds from place to place.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you whether events where single officers were present at a particular location are more likely to conclude at that location, or at another place. Similarly, if more than one subject is present, we would be able to tell you whether an encounter more likely to involve more location as subjects flee the area and move to other places.

Research basis for the data:
There has been no previous research about how the numbers of officers and subjects at particular locations impact how the incident unfolds.

Question Text:
Incident location format, street address where incident occurred, XY coordinates

Why we’re asking:
Specific geographic information, either about addresses or GPS coordinates, is needed in order to geocode these calls and associate them with data about the larger neighborhood or environment.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you whether neighborhood or community context predicts the prevalence of OIS incidents, or OIS incidents of varying severity. If we are able to obtain point-level crime data from a large enough number of agencies, we will also be able to carry out a more fine-grained analysis of whether a specific pattern of police-citizen encounters at a location predicts OIS events.

Research basis for the data:
Some researchers have found that areas with more violent crime experience more police shootings (e.g., Fyfe, 1980). We will be able to investigate this issue using a wider range of data and measures of environmental context than has been possible in previous research.

Question Text:
Description of premises where incident occurred

This question includes a number of different premise descriptions and allows you to select multiple options if needed. For instance, if the incident occurred at an ATM within a fairground, you would select both of those options.

Why we’re asking:
OIS incidents may be more likely to occur in specific types of settings, such as in bars, parking lots, or highways. The type of location where an incident occurs may pose different risks to police officers and subjects, or different types of limitations on their mobility.

What we can tell you as a result of having this data?
We will be able to tell you whether specific types of premises are likely to result in particular types of OIS outcomes, such as officer, subject, or bystander injury. If we find that particular premises pose higher risks, then you may be able to formulate training and policies that mitigate those risks as much as possible that may be more realistic based on the environments where these events occur.

Research basis for the data:
Prior research has not been able to study how premise type affects OIS outcomes. However, research about risky facilities shows that crime concentrates at certain types of premises, such as bars and mass transit areas (e.g., Eck, Clarke, and Guerette, 2007).

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