Police use of force: Examining the relationship between calls for service and the balance of police force and suspect resistance

John M. MacDonald, Patrick W. Manz, Geoffrey P. Alpert, Roger G Dunham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, the use of force by the police has become an important public policy concern and topic of social science research. A number of researchers hypothesized about the factors that explain the amount of force used by police officers. Prior research focused almost exclusively on the highest level of force used in police-citizen interactions and neglected to examine the relative amount of forced used by the police compared to that used by suspects. To address this shortcoming, this study analyzed data from three years of official use-of-force reports in the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD). Contrary to studies that examine only the use of force by the police, this study found that the relative amount of force used by the police was greatest in the less threatening types of offenses. The implications of this study for research and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science

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