SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Nowacki, Jeffrey S. (June 2015). Organizational-Level Police Discretion: An Application for Police Use of Lethal Force. Crime & Delinquency, 61(5): 643-668.

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Research on police behavior suggests that discretion is vital to police decision making. Although discretion can originate from many sources (e.g., officers, situations, structure), relatively few studies examine how organizational variables affect officer discretion. Of the studies that test whether organizational level influences shape discretion, even fewer examine their influence on lethal force. This oversight is notable in light of the overrepresentation of Blacks in lethal force incidents because organizational characteristics and policies may reduce racial disparities in the application of lethal force. Using administrative policy and police department size as proxies for organizational variables, this study tests for organizational effects and examines whether these effects vary by race. Using city-level data from 1980 to 1984, this research examines how organizational limits on discretion affect the volume of lethal force incidents. Negative binomial regression results indicate that administrative policy predicts lethal force incidents for total and Black-specific population models but not White-specific models, and department size predicts lethal force incidents for total and White-specific models but not Black-specific models. Organizational correlates of police discretion seem crucial for understanding officer behavior.


Article 2: Oliver, Willard M. (September 2009). Policing for Homeland Security: Policy & Research. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 20(3): 253-260.

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Since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, Federal, State and local governments have increasingly moved toward establishing Homeland Security as an institutional response to not only the threat of future terrorist attacks, but as a means of preparing and responding to natural disasters. Every plan at every level has stated that a critical element to any Homeland Security program is the local police and sheriff's departments. What specifically the police are to do under the concepts of Homeland Security has been unclear and poorly communicated and departments across the country have responded very differently from one another. To date, research in the area of Policing and Homeland Security has been lacking. This article addresses that deficiency, introduces the collection of research articles contained within this special issue of Criminal Justice Policy Review, and establishes an agenda for future research.


Article 3: Johnson, Richard R. (June 2013). A Longitudinal Examination of Officer Deaths from Vehicle Pursuits. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 15(2): 77-94.

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Little research has examined the changing dangerousness of police high-speed pursuits over time, especially with regard to the safety of the officer. Using data from all pursuit-related officer deaths in the USA between 1960 and 2011, this study tested the hypothesis that the officer death rate has been decreasing. Least-squares lines were calculated through the data point of each year to estimate trends in officer death rates over time. The findings revealed that the death rate for officers directly involved in pursuits has decreased steadily, as has the death rate for officers manning roadblocks. The death rate for officers deploying spike strips or travelling to assist in the pursuit, however, has been steadily increasing. The findings suggest further development of pursuit policies to address these issues.


Article 4: Schuck, Amie M. (March 2014). Female Representation in Law Enforcement: The Influence of Screening, Unions, Incentives, Community Policing, CALEA, and Size. Police Quarterly, 17(1): 54-78.

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Using data over 4,000 agencies, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of community, organization, and economic factors on the representation of women in law enforcement. The results highlight the influence that police executives and community leaders have on gender diversity by way of creating a greater demand for women in the profession. Higher levels of female officer representation were associated with organizations that emphasize community policing; have higher education requirements, more incentives and benefits, no physical fitness screening criteria, and no collective bargaining rights; belong to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies; and serve larger and more racially and ethnical diverse communities.