Police pursuits and the use of force: Recognizing and managing “the pucker factor”—a research note

Geoffrey P. Alpert, Dennis Jay Kenney, Roger Dunham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Pursuit driving has become one of the most controversial and litigated topics in policing. One consistent theme in the research is that pursuits are adrenaline-driven and are highly stressful for the police officers involved. This study analyzes force used after a pursuit as part of the effort to take the suspect into custody. The data are part of a larger research project that includes four jurisdictions: the Metro-Dade Police Department in Miami (FL), the Omaha (NE) Police Department, the Mesa (AZ) Police Department, and the Aiken County (SC) Sheriffs Office. In addition, data were collected from jail inmates in three of these cities or the neighboring areas. We found that most officers act professionally, but some become anxious at the end of a pursuit and tend to “pull the suspect out of the vent window” to make an arrest. Suggestions to reduce this unprofessional behavior include enhanced training, supervision, and accountability systems. Further, if possible, an officer other than the primary pursuit driver should take physical custody of the suspect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-385
Number of pages14
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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