New Study: Some Notable Patterns In Officer Use of Force Injuries

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A study of a year’s worth of force reports in one major US police department reveals some interesting patterns of officer injuries in non-shooting confrontations.

The review was led by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, an epidemiologist with the University of Texas School of Public Health who specializes in violence prevention and injury. Her team included Dr. Steve Bishopp, a sergeant with Dallas PD.

The researchers analyzed 2,244 UOF reports, exclusive of shootings by or at officers, which by mandate must be completed every time a Dallas officer uses force “greater than compliant handcuffing.” The team sorted filings from 1,028 individual officers into four broad categories: verbal direction, including commands and “combat stance”; soft empty-hand control, including pressure points and threatened use of a CEW; hard empty-hand control, such as joint locks and “weapon display at person”; and intermediate weapon use, including “pepperball saturation and TASER deployment.”

Most officers (87%) who reported using force were male and non-Hispanic whites (58%). Forty per cent had been with DPD for fewer than five years and 13% recorded more than four UOF experiences during the year studied. Of suspects involved, nearly 80% were male and more than half were non-Hispanic blacks.

Out of 2,244 total reports, 10% “disclosed that an officer was injured,” the researchers found. Many hurts (38%) were just abrasions or swelling (20%), but 2% of officer injuries resulted in hospitalizations and some officers reported fractures and bites. Close to 2/3 of officers injured had multiple UOF encounters during the study period, with nearly 30% submitting four or more UOF reports. Up to 13 injuries were said to have occurred per incident.

Not surprisingly, Jetelina writes that “the odds of officer injury were significantly higher among active aggressive citizens.” Perhaps more notable were these other findings:

  • The odds of officer injury were significantly lower “when [a suspect] displayed a weapon,” the team reports. Jetelina speculates that this “suggests that DPD officers are employing tactical [maneuvers] by increasing distance and time, if possible, upon encountering a suspect with a weapon [and thus preventing] premature and unnecessary physical force which leads to officer injuries.”
  • Black officers were “significantly less likely to use verbal commands and hard empty-hand control than non-Hispanic white officers.”
  • Officers with less than 10 years’ experience “were significantly more likely to use verbal commands and soft empty-hand control and less likely to use hard empty-hand control or intermediate weapons than officers with more than 10 years on the force.”
  • Officers with five to 10 years on the job were “significantly more likely to sustain an injury than officers with less than five years of tenure.”
  • Proportionately, male officers were “significantly less likely to sustain an injury.”
  • “[O]fficers were more likely to use verbal commands in interactions with non-Hispanic black citizens compared with non-Hispanic white citizens.”
  • Of particular importance, the researchers emphasized, was their finding that “gradual escalation of use of force [was] shown to reduce police officer injury in high stress, high anxiety calls….” The study concludes: “Police departments should continue to train and educate police officers on the importance of gradual escalation of force when appropriate.

“This is especially evident among police officers with greater tenure who were less likely to gradually move through the force continuum…. [O]fficers, and likely citizens, directly benefit from gradual escalation in terms of injury incidence and this only highlights the importance and need of de-escalation techniques….”

The study appears in the journal Injury Prevention, under the title “Gradual escalation of use-of-force reduces police officer injury.” You can see a free abstract by clicking here. The full report can be accessed for a fee at that site as well.

Our thanks to Lt. Glen Mills of the Burlington (MA) PD for alerting us to this study.

Leave a Reply


  • Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Effective date: January 06, 2019

Force Science Institute, Ltd. (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://www.forcescience.org/ website (hereinafter referred to as the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data. Our Privacy Policy for Force Science Institute, Ltd. is based on the Privacy Policy Template from Privacy Policies.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from https://www.forcescience.org/

Information Collection And Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

  • Email address
  • First name and last name
  • Phone number
  • Address, State, Province, ZIP/Postal code, City
  • Cookies and Usage Data

Usage Data

We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

Tracking & Cookies Data

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and hold certain information.

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Service.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service. You can learn more how to manage cookies in the Browser Cookies Guide.

Examples of Cookies we use:

  • Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our Service.
  • Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.
  • Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Use of Data

Force Science Institute, Ltd. uses the collected data for various purposes:

  • To provide and maintain the Service
  • To notify you about changes to our Service
  • To allow you to participate in interactive features of our Service when you choose to do so
  • To provide customer care and support
  • To provide analysis or valuable information so that we can improve the Service
  • To monitor the usage of the Service
  • To detect, prevent and address technical issues

Transfer Of Data

Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

Force Science Institute, Ltd. will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure Of Data

Legal Requirements

Force Science Institute, Ltd. may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

  • To comply with a legal obligation
  • To protect and defend the rights or property of Force Science Institute, Ltd.
  • To prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service
  • To protect the personal safety of users of the Service or the public
  • To protect against legal liability

Security Of Data

The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Service Providers

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), to provide the Service on our behalf, to perform Service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service.

  • Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en

Links To Other Sites

Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Children’s Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 (“Children”).

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes To This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us:

  • By email: support@forcescience.org
  • By visiting this page on our website: https://www.forcescience.org/contact
  • By phone number: 866-683-1944
  • By mail: Force Science Institute, Ltd.