Data Explorer

Accountable Now and NORC analyzed use of force data from 14 cities. Use the data explorer tool to learn more about what they found. You can filter by city, year, type of force, race, and gender of the person that police used force against.

Disclaimer: Police departments collect and report use of force data in different ways. Therefore, users are cautioned when comparing use of force statistics between cities. To learn more about ways in which departments differ in their capture and reporting of use of force data, see Police Use of Force is Undercounted.

You are welcome to explore the analyzed data as well as the raw data we have received through open data portals, data repositories like Muckrock, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. To download these data sets, please see the Accountable Now Progress Map.

Researchers are still learning how best to analyze and harmonize such disparate data sets. As Accountable Now and NORC continue to work with these data sets, we will continue to update the site and be transparent about what we are learning. We welcome your ideas and feedback.

Last updated: July 14, 2021

Use of Force Over Time, 2017-2019

Setting the Standard

For the last 25 years, the federal government has been under statutory mandate to develop  a single administrative data collection documenting police use of force (UOF) in the United States. 34 U.S.C. 12602 (Under “Setting the Standard” heading) requires the US Attorney General to “acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers” and to “publish an annual summary of the data acquired.” Despite legislation requiring the collection of UOF data and multiple efforts aimed at collecting such data, the nation still lacks a comprehensive accounting of this important data, and much of the data available is difficult to access and limited in utility.

Accountable Now makes an impact by sharing data people can understand and use. LCCHR and NORC work together to harmonize use of force data so it is uniform and users can make comparisons and find patterns.

Harmonizing Police Use of Force Data

Local LEAs across the United States record police use of force differently. NORC harmonizes LEA's data by combining them into a single dataset with matching definitions. With harmonized data, we can make limited comparisons between datasets from multiple cities and identify gaps or potential patterns.

Methodology

As we describe in Missingness in Police Use of Force data, each LEA collects and reports uses of force differently. This makes it incredibly difficult to create one database containing all records of use of force. One of the main purposes of Accountable Now is to overcome shortcomings in the data to make one harmonized dataset containing all uses of force across the country.

Each LEA reports use of force using different database structures, so NORC deconstructed each LEA source dataset into a consistent set of entities creating separate records for every individual, officer, and use of force that was applied as part of the use of force incidents. An incident, as illustrated here, is defined as a time and place in which one or more officers applied one or more types of force to one or more individuals. Once distilled into these distinct entities, NORC reconstructs all datasets into one consistent structure which resembles a relational database containing all data from all LEAs.

Each LEA also reports different types of force using differing labels which can make it challenging to make comparisons across cities. So, NORC and LCCHR worked together to create a consistent standard set of types of force values and converted each of the categories reported by LEAs to that standard set of values. Given the gaps and variance in the way police departments track and report police use of force data, these standardizations aren’t perfect, but they are useful. We will continue to engage thoughtfully with the existing data and continue to make the data available more comprehensive and useable.

Definitions

NORC sourced incident level data from the above cities and worked with LCCHR to harmonize these data by creating consistent categories for type of force, race, and gender. Below are the standard categories we developed to make it easier to track trends in use of force within and across departments.

Type of Force

Canine Bite Definition: Police canine bite, injury, or contact Examples of Source Values: K-9 bite, dog bite, canine inflicted injury, K-9 Apprehension/Bite, K-9 Off Lead Bite, K-9 On Lead Bite, Canine (Contact), Canine Bite

Canine Deployment   Definition: Police canine present but no indication of contact or bite Examples of Source Values: K-9 Deployment, K-9, Canine (no bite), K-9 Apprehension, K-9 Utilized, K-9 Displayed

Chemical Impact Weapon Definition: A weapon used to strike or deploy projectiles that use chemical agents (National Institute of Justice, 2009) Examples of Source Values: : Less-Lethal CS Grenade, Chemical Munitions, OC/CS Launcher, Chemical Weapon

Chemical Spray Definition: “sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals such as pepper spray” (National Institute of Justice, 2009) Examples of Source Values: Chemical Irritant, Chemical Agent, OC Spray, CS Fogger, Less Lethal CS/OC Spray, Pepper Spray, OC Canister, Pepper Foam, Less lethal CN Gas

Classified as NOT UOF Definition: Standard policing behaviors that are not considered Use of Force like foot and vehicular pursuits and tactical positioning Examples of Source Values: Additional Unit Members, Member Presence, Movement to Avoid Attack, Tactical Positioning, Use of Force Investigation, Departmental Vehicle, foot pursuit, vehicle pursuit, verbal command, verbal, vehicle

ECW/CEW Discharge Definition: The deployment of a less-lethal, often handheld weapon/device that discharges high-voltage electrical currents to immobilize a person (National Institute of Justice, 2009) Examples of Source Values: CED- DRIVE STUN, CED- PRONGS MISSED, Taser-Probes Discharged, CEW deployment, TaserDrive Stun

ECW/CEW Point/Display Definition: The displaying of a less-lethal, often handheld weapon/device that discharges high-voltage electrical currents to immobilize a person (National Institute of Justice, 2009) Examples of Source Values: Taser Display at Person, Pointing a CEW, Taser Display, CEW Pointed Only, Pointing a Taser

ECW/CEW - not specified Definition: The unspecified use or display of a less-lethal, often handheld weapon/device that discharges high-voltage electrical currents to immobilize a person (National Institute of Justice, 2009) Examples of Source Values: Taser, CEW, Physical/Taser TASER- No, ECD

Firearm Discharge: Animal Definition: Discharge of a firearm at an animal Examples of Source Values: Firearm Discharge animal, Weapon Discharge at an animal, FD- Animal Agg., FD- Animal Suf

Firearm Discharge: Person Definition: Discharge of a firearm at a person Examples of Source Values: shot gun discharge, rifle discharge, handgun discharge

Firearm Point/Display Definition: Firearm is pointed at a person or displayed but not discharged Examples of Source Values: Pointing a firearm, Handgun displayed, Rifle displayed, shotgun displayed, gun point display, firearm (exhibited), PFA, Firearm Pointed Only

Firearm - not specified Definition: Firearm usage (display or discharge) is not specified Examples of Source Values: Firearm, Handgun, Semi-Auto Pistol, Revolver, Shotgun, Lethal-Handgun, Lethal-Rifle

Handcuffing Definition: A type of restraint that restricts a person’s arm movement by using a metal fastening that locks around wrists (Hamden Police Department General Orders, 2015) Examples of Source Values: Handcuffing, Handcuffs- Physical Restraints, Resisted HC, Hand Cuffed, Physical-Handcuffing, Handcuffs

Holds Definition: Restricting a person’s body movements by applying significant pressure with hands or legs (see Empty-Hand Control, National Institute of Justice, 2009) Examples of Source Values: Pressure points, Escort Holds, Hands, Physical-Joint/Pressure, Joint Manipulation, Grabbed, Control Hold, Wristlock, Pressure Sensitive Areas, Control Against Resistance, Pain Compliance Maneuver, Soft Empty Hand- Other

Impact Projectile Weapons Definition: Also known as impact munitions; weapons that can be fired at a greater distance using kinetic energy, generally to inflict pain, control crowds, and cause injury (Hubbs and Klinger, 2004) Example of Source Values: Pepper Ball, Pepperball- OC only, Pepperball with strikes, Impact Munition, Pepperball Launcher

Impact Weapon* Definition: Any object or device used to harm or subdue a person like a baton or flashlight (See Portland Police Use of Force Policy) Examples of Source Values: Improvised Weapon, Impact Weapons Used, Baton, Baton/PR-24 (Miss), Baton/PR-24 (NonStrk), Asp Baton, Baton Expandable, Impact Weapon, lethal-Knife, Banton/Koga, Baton Display *no mention of how it is used (strike or hit)

Impact Weapon Strike Definition: Any weapon or non-weapon used to incapacitate or subdue a person by inflicting blunt strikes (See Portland Police Use of Force Policy) Examples of Source Values: Impact Weapon to Head, Baton Strike/Closed Mode, Baton Strike/Open Mode, Baton/PR-24 (Strike), Baton-Strike

Impact Weapon - not specified Definition: Any object or device used to incapacitate or subdue a person but not specified on how it was used (See Portland Police Use of Force Policy) Examples of Source Values: Weapon display at a person, Control Instrument, Drew_weapon

Neck Restraints/Holds Definition: The use of any body part or object to attempt to control or disable a person by applying pressure against the person's neck, including the trachea or carotid artery, with the purpose, intent, or effect of controlling or restricting the person's movement or restricting their blood flow or breathing” (See Code of the District of Columbia) Examples of Source Values: Force (Neck Holds), Arm Bar, Brachial Stun, CRCH- Carotid Restraint Control Hold, LVNR- Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, CRCH- Conscious, CRCH-Unconscious

Other - Less Lethal Definition: Inclusive of other types of police interventions/procedures that are considered to be less lethal or are unclear Examples of Source Values: FSDD- Flash sound diversionary devices, SPITNET, Combat Stance, BD- Pushed, BD- Tripped, Less Lethal Displayed

Restraint (other than handcuffs) Definition: Force techniques or mechanical devices used to subdue a person by limiting mobility (Garner, Buchanan, Schade, & Hepburn, 1996) *This does not include neck restraints Examples of Source Values: Restraint Hold of Arms, Hobble, Leg Restraints, Restrain, SAFEWRAP, Restrained

Strikes/Kicks Definition: Forcible hits using arms or legs Examples of Source Values: Weaponless (Pressure Points/Kicks/Hand), Hands, Punch, Physical- Fist Strike, Physical Knee Strike, Physical Palm Strike, Hands/Fist/Feet, Physical Strikes Made, Physical-Elbow Strike

Takedown Definition: A maneuver used to subdue a person to the ground, often by tackling or sweeping legs, causing the person to hit the ground (See Portland Police Use of Force Policy) Examples of Source Values: Forcible Takedowns, Handcuffing Takedown, Held Suspect Down, Body Weight Leverage, Physical Takedown, Bodily Force, Physical- Weight Leverage, Physical Force/Tackle, Takedown (II and III), Takedown (IV), Take Down, Leg Sweep, Takedown (no injury), Takedown (injury), Forced to Ground, Tackle, Force (Takedown), Held Down, Lift and Dump

UOF - not specified Definition: Force type not specified Examples of Source Values: Injury to Prisoner, Noncompliant Subject/Arrestee, Physical- Other, Electronic Device Used, Less Lethal, Physical, Level 1 Use of Force, Level 2 Use of Force, Level 3 Use of Force, Physical Control, Affect Arrest, Apprehension, Physical

Vehicle as Weapon Definition: A motor vehicle used as a weapon to subdue a person; includes use of vehicle to intentionally cause a person to crash Examples of Source Values: Pursuit Immobilization Technique (PIT), Lethal vehicle, Vehicle as Weapon, RAM-VIS, Box-in VIS, Vehicle Containment

Download UOF Definition Table (PDF)

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are not captured consistently across LEAs. While now common in federal reporting, very few LEAs capture race and ethnicity separately. Rather, LEAs report ethnicities such as Hispanic/Latino as equivalent to a race category. NORC did not attempt to impute ethnicity where not reported separately. Rather we coded ethnicity as equivalent to a race category. Please note that current LEA data collection practices may facilitate undercounting of Latino individuals who are miscategorized as “White” or “Black” by LEAs that track race but not ethnicity.

Gender

The large majority of LEAs use male and female gender categories. Where departments report transgender or unknown gender categories, NORC maintained this detail and reported these categories in our harmonized data.