dstebbins

Scientific evidence to justify police use of force policies?

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Numerous police departments have come under public scrutiny in recent years after use of lethal force in cases that, to many people, did not appear to require lethal force (the keyword being "lethal"). The Mesa, Arizona police department after the shooting of Daniel Shaver, and the Sacramento Police Department after the shooting of Steffon Clark are two examples that come immediately to mind.

Police and their sympathizers tend to argue that their improvident use of lethal force is a necessary evil by arguing that, if a cop waits until he's actually being shot at before he opens fire himself, he's probably already dead before he even gets the chance to defend himself.  This video right here documents the most publicized case of a civilian being invited to see things from the cops' perspective:

However, just on the summary glance of police training that this video shows, I'm seeing a huge problem in the way the training is structured. It seems to be based more on paranoia than objective fact.

Think about it this way: Let's play devil's advocate for a minute here. Let's temporarily concede that a person who's hands disappear behind a car could, in theory, result in a gun being fired faster than the cop can draw his own weapon. Well, I'm less interested in what could, in theory, potentially happen, and more interested in what is realistically likely to actually happen.

Thing about it this way: This training exercise was intentionally manufactured by police trainers for the express purpose of ingraining a specific mindset into cops-in-training (or CITs, for short). In doing so, the trainers are able to create literally whatever circumstances they want, no matter how implausible or unlikely the scenario. The fake perp in that scenario fires his gun at the CIT literally every time a new CIT goes through that exercise.

Imagine if that fake perp actually had a chance of shooting the CIT with his blank bullet. The chance of him doing so accurately reflected the odds of the perp in an otherwise identical situation out in the real world doing the same. So if the odds of a similar situation in real life escalating to the point of being fired upon was ... say ... 1 in 721,563, then the fake perp in this training exercise would be told - via his hidden earpiece - to fire at the CIT only if a computerized RNG rolled a 1 out of a range of 1-721,563.

I highly doubt very many cops would be converted over to the mindset of "It's best if we shoot now and not take chances."

If the guys who killed Steffon Clark or Daniel Shaver were forced to admit out loud (e.g. through cross-examination) that the OBJECTIVE ODDS of them being killed if they didn't use lethal force - or if they waited even a few seconds to analyze the situation further - were about one in a million, then cops around the nation would probably realize just how wrong they are with their current police training.

So now we come to the title of this thread, and the main reason I'm posting this in a science message board, rather than a politics one: Is there any objective scientific evidence showing that training police to act so irrationally is actually necessary to protect cops? By "necessary," I don't simply mean that preventing 1 cop death per year justifies the most extreme use of force policies. By "necessary," I mean ... would the relaxing of use of force result in a disproportionate increase of cop deaths to the reduction of civilian deaths?

For example, if objective scientific evidence showed that a re-working of police use of force training and policies resulted in a 50% reduction in innocent civilians being killed by cops per year, but also resulted in a 5,000% increase in cops being killed by civilians per year, then that would certainly create a strong case for such extreme use of force policies being a necessary evil.

But the key word there is "objective." I'm not interested in hearing the biased opinions of cops who have been trained to be paranoid and therefore are too scared for their own lives (the fear may be in good faith, even though it is totally baseless and delusional, because of the paranoid training they receive) to even give this theory a chance. No, I'd like these studies to be based on sound, objective, scientific observations. Preferably double-blind, if not triple blind.

Are there any studies out there like that?

For example, in 2017 (the most recent year for which full statistics were available), 149 unarmed civilians were killed by cops ... https://policeviolencereport.org/ ... while only 46 cops were murdered by gunfire in that same time period ... https://www.odmp.org/search/year/2017 ... So imagine if, in late 2017, Congress passed a nationwide law restricting police use of force, which took effect on January 1, 2018. This restriction indeed reduced the number of unarmed civilians killed by cops in 2018 down to 49, about a third of what they were before. But now, because cops are more restricted in the use of force, thugs they are trying to apprehend feel a lot bolder than they used to and are more willing to use lethal force against the cops, knowing that the cops are going to be more hesitant to use lethal force in turn until it's too late. So in the same time period the use of unarmed civilian deaths drops, the number of cops killed by civilians in that same time period goes up to an astonishing 4,600 cop deaths, instead of the mere 46 from the year before. So although we've saved 100 civilians' lives, we've cost ourselves 4,554 cops' lives, a net increase in 4,454 needless deaths overall.

Obviously, this is what the cops themselves would want you to believe would happen if use of force policies were tightened up even slightly, but is there any objective scientific data showing that this is, in fact, what would happen?

Edited by dstebbins

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"Scientific evidence to justify police use of force policies?"
No.

Propaganda is being used to justify shoot to kill.

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22 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

"Scientific evidence to justify police use of force policies?"
No.

Propaganda is being used to justify shoot to kill.

Well, it's clear that you've already made up your mind on this matter ... which means you're no more qualified to discuss the objective facts of this matter than the cops themselves.
 

Tell me, Mr. Cuthber: Do you actually know for a fact that no scientific studies have been conducted, or do you simply assume that none have been conducted based solely on the fact that you personally have yet to hear about any?

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