2008 12 22
Police shooting fuels Taser debate
By Angus Hohenboken and Sanna Trad
A JUNIOR police officer who shot a woman threatening police with a knife in Sydney yesterday was authorised to use a firearm but not a Taser….(Full Story)
F4L: Over the last few years, and with increasing affirmative-action hiring of women as police officers, I have seen observations by a number of people who assert that, while police-men are less likely to use lethal force and instead first try to use their bodily strength to overpower miscreants to arrest them, police-women are more ready to use their fire arms to equalize for their lack of sufficient body strength.
The implications are that police-women are a greater lethal danger than police-men are to suspected criminals.
If that is truly so, then surely there must have been some studies that investigated shootings by police officers to determine which of their sexes is likely to be more lethal.
Does anyone know about current studies of that, and how they can be accessed?
One such report, a little dated, explains that female officers are somewhat more conciliatory than male officers when dealing with incidents that require their interventions, but it also states:
Findings regarding officers’ use of deadly force, however, have been somewhat mixed. Studies have shown that male officers are involved in deadly force incidents more often than female officers, but female officers who are partnered with a male officer reacted similarly to their male partners when responding to violent confrontations (Walker). In addition, a study of police officers in Indianapolis Police Department and St. Petersburg Police Department during 19961997 found that male officers are more likely than female officers to respond positively to citizens’ requests to control another citizen (Mastrofski et al., 2000).
The report gives the impression that it confirms the positive aspects of affirmative-action hiring, without making a strong case of presenting evidence that is either for or against affirmative evidence. Going by that report, it seems that as far as the quality of policing goes, one could do as well with affirmative-action hiring as without it.
Perhaps someone who reads this could provide pointers to more conclusive study reports. In the meantime, the following sheds more light on the complexities of the issues involved.
A Blue Wall of Silence
With James J. Fyfe,
Professor of Criminal Justice, Temple University
Tuesday, July 3, 2001; 3 p.m. EDT
Prince George’s County police officers shot and killed people at rates that exceeded those of nearly any other large police force in the United States from 1990 through 2000. Almost half the people targeted by police were unarmed. Police officials declared all of the shootings justified but kept details about them secret.
James J. Fyfe is a former New York City police officer and is now a professor of criminal justice and senior public policy research fellow at Temple University in Philadelphia. He has served on the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and is a former senior fellow of the Police Foundation and professor of justice at American University. Currently, he is directing a federally funded study of officers dismissed or forced to resign from the New York City Police Department….(Full Story)