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Organizational and Other Contraints on Controlling the Use of Deadly Force by Police

James Lindgren
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 455, Gun Control (May, 1981), pp. 110-119
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1044074
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Organizational and Other Contraints on Controlling the Use of Deadly Force by Police
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Abstract

Researchers have often suggested rule making to control the use of deadly force by police. But organizational and other constraints impede the institution of effective rules. Unlike decisions in other large decentralized organizations, a police officer's decision to fire a gun is not easily controlled by top management. The structure of police departments, the nature of the decision to fire a gun, and the pressures on the review of the use of deadly force all make reducing the unnecessary use of force difficult. In addition, as long as the density of guns in a community is high, police policymaking is further restricted. Very little can be done to reduce the use of excessive force by police in the situations where suspects are threatening officers because of the possibility that the suspect may use a gun against the police. Police departments, however, can more effectively restrict the use of force against fleeing felons.

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