Police use-of-force has become a hotly debated issue among scholars, policed administrators and civil rights activists. Police are granted a mandate to use force to protect the greater good of their citizens and serve to enforce peace in their communities. However, that mandate is not beyond reproach, especially when the actions of the police appear to blatantly disregard their duties to protect and serve. Conducted Energy Devices’ (CED’s) as a less-than lethal weapon for police has created a conundrum for police administrators. Intended to provide a higher degree of safety for officers in dangerous confrontations, CED’s have added a less-than lethal force alternative to policing strategy and tactics. Billed as a humane device to protect police officers CED’s have created a second component for police officers and their use-of-force continuum when dealing with dangerous subjects. However, recent research studies efforts by Gau, Mosher, and Pratt (2010) and Terrill and Paoline (2012) suggest that over 25% of all CED deployments target non-aggressive suspects who are merely non-compliant to the verbal commands of a police officer. If the aforementioned research is correct, then implementation of the CED’s in the field is not occurring within the parameters of the force continuum and should be further evaluated.
The nomenclature of the CED is consistent with a high voltage/low amperage stun device that disrupts a suspect’s voluntary control of muscles in a form of neuromuscular incapacitation that can effect a subject for up to several minutes (Ordog et al., 1987). Although most often associated as a humane alternative CED’s have been scrutinized for a number of popularized videos showing police officers aggressively...
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...al force is a core function of the policing and can be infected with the biases and phobias of individual officers.
Because of the magnitude of this policing function and its potential for individuals to abuse, police agencies typically require officers to follow a “continuum of force” to help them analyze the situation and make decisions based on the amount of danger or resistance present during an encounter with a suspect (Terrill and Paoline, 2013). However, the force continuum is limited and not applicable to all the possible situations that police officers encounter, this element of unpredictability introduces the concept of reasonably necessary as governed by the limits of the law (objectively reasonable). Because of the width and breadth of the subject, the literature review has been subdivided to better define the variables related to the force continuum.
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