CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Stoughton on Use-of-Force Review

Seth W. Stoughton (University of South Carolina School of Law) has posted Accountability and Enhancement: The Dual Objectives of Use-of-Force Review (Rethinking and Reforming American Policing (Joseph A. Schafer & Richard W. Myers, eds., 2022)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The use of force is the among the most controversial and corrosive aspects of policing. Use-of-force investigations are a critical component of building and maintaining public trust and police-community relations. Meaningful review requires agencies to assess use-of-force incidents with two distinct objectives in mind: accountability and enhancement. Accountability is focused on determining, after the fact, whether agency employees did what they were supposed to do in the manner in which they were supposed to do it. Enhancement, in contrast, is about improving the delivery of police services, learning lessons and implementing changes that can potentially reduce the use of force in future incidents.

This chapter explains why use-of-force review is so important, defines the dual objectives of review, and offers a detailed summary of the questions that a thorough review process should strive to answer.

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