Officer Involved Shooting Data Analysis

Project Purpose/Goal:

The National Police Foundation, in partnership with the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) and law enforcement advisors, developed an online data collection tool where agencies entered information about all officer involved shooting (OIS) from 2015-2017, including detailed data on the officer(s) involved, the subject(s) who were present and fired upon, and the location(s) where the incident took place in near-real time.

This project involves analysis of the data collected through these efforts, focusing on critical issues in OIS incidents. First, we are analyzing detailed data on subjects, officers, and locations involved in OIS incidents. Next, we are describing OIS incidents from the initiation to the conclusion of the call, and analyzing whether there are factors that predict certain types of outcomes such as injuries and death. Third, we are categorizing and analyzing agencies’ investigatory and accountability responses to these events. Fourth, we are investigating the quality and scope of data available to and released by police agencies. Following this research, we will prepare and release publications that document our findings for researcher and practitioner audiences, as well as present findings during researcher and practitioner conferences. Our database is the first of its kind in the U.S. in covering all officer-involved shootings in a large sample of major cities.

Approach, Results, and Implications:

During this project, we are auditing a complete set of 2015-2017 OIS data from over 50 major city agencies that will allow for analysis of four issues:

      1. What types of situations are involved in OIS incidents?
        We are analyzing detailed information about the subjects, officers, and locations involved in these events. Examples of research questions include: Can subject race and/or location of the OIS predict officer use of force? Is the use of non-lethal tactics influenced by mental health issues or substance use by the subject? Does time of day, duty assignment, or length of time on shift influence an officer’s use of less-lethal tactics?
      2. How do OIS incidents proceed from the initiation to the end of the event?
        We are analyzing how an incident was initiated, how the incident proceeded, and how the incident concluded using detailed information for each stage of the event. Using regression models, we are assessing how the initiation and progression of the incident predict various outcomes. For example, does initial notification of an armed subject influence the number of officers who respond to the incident or the number of rounds that were fired?
      3. How do police departments respond to these incidents?
        Following an OIS incident, agencies often carry out an investigation to determine the facts of the case and whether an officer’s use of force was aligned with department policies. Our OIS data captures information about the results of investigations and the organizations carrying them out. We are assessing the types of incidents likely to result in a department finding that improper use of force occurred, and measuring the extent of involvement of external agencies in reviewing OIS incidents.
      4. What types of data elements do police agencies generally lack when reporting on OIS incidents?
      5. The fourth research question uses data from the over 300 items included in the OIS data collection tool, as well as information provided by agency points of contact about the availability of data elements, to determine which types of information are not commonly collected by participating agencies. We spent additional time and resources going back to agencies to try to ensure that we have the most complete data possible, and have captured information as to why certain agencies do not provide all variables, or cannot provide specific types of responses. For instance, some agencies are required to discard information about citizen complaints about an officer after a certain period of time due to union contracts. Documenting these data gaps will illustrate the barriers to knowledge about OIS incidents that currently exist among police agencies.

      Funding & Collaboration:

      This project is funded fully by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and is made possible through collaboration with the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

      Point of Contact:

      Julie Grieco, Ph.D.
      Senior Research Associate
      Police Foundation
      Jgrieco@policefoundation.org

      Keywords:

      Use of force, police, officer-involved shootings

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