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Do Changes in TASER Use Policy Affect Police Officer Injury Rates?

Research paper by Womack, V. G, Morris, R. G, Bishopp, S. A.

Indexed on: 09 Nov '16Published on: 02 Nov '16Published in: Police Quarterly



Abstract

The addition of TASERs as a less lethal use-of-force option for police officers has facilitated much discussion in recent scholarship. Many police agencies have responded with force policy changes specific to appropriate applications for these weapons. While the goal of these changes is often to minimize concern about injury to citizens, debate rests on whether injury rates for officers are influenced by such transitions in policy. The present study used officer injury panel data from the City of Dallas (Texas) Human Resources Department to assess the impact of a 2005 modification to the Dallas Police Department’s TASER policy. The goal of the study was to assess change in the rate of officer injury after the implementation of a more restrictive policy. We observed a modest increase in the monthly rate of police officer injuries following the policy restricting use. These results were found net of other effects, with some noteworthy between-patrol-division variation. Implications for TASER use policy and future research are discussed within.