Criminal Justice

Police Executive Research Forum offers guidance to law enforcement to improve use-of-force policies and practice

March 10, 2021

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others focused the nation’s attention last summer on police use of force. These events gave new urgency to the policymakers and law enforcement officers committed to finding ways to prevent such tragic and unnecessary outcomes. They also highlighted the need for rigorous data-informed analysis and research to help improve police training and use-of-force policies.

In a new report, Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a law enforcement research and policy organization with an advisory board comprised of chiefs of police, academics, and researchers, offers guidance to help better understand how force has been used in communities and how to track data effectively to improve officer practices.

What Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Need to Know about Collecting and Analyzing Use-of-Force Data has three components:

  • A summary of 30 leading research studies on use of force
  • A description of the data that law enforcement agencies should collect in order to effectively track use-of-force incidents
  • An explanation of how agencies can make the most impactful use of the data they collect

PERF has also developed a Use-of-Force Data Framework that allows agencies to seamlessly collect the necessary data for participation in the FBI’s National Use-of-Force Data Collection, which offers big-picture insights on law enforcement use-of-force incidents.

“Rigorous data collection and analysis are critical to understanding the misuse of force and to finding the solutions that will enable law enforcement to better protect and serve all communities,” said Charles Koch Institute Executive Director Derek Johnson. “PERF’s report will help sheriffs and police chiefs put research and best practices into action. We’re excited to support this work as part of an ongoing dialogue about how law enforcement can protect public safety and ensure equal justice.”

The Charles Koch Institute provided support for this independent study and had no influence on the results included therein. CKI believes that an effective criminal justice system protects people and preserves public safety, respects human dignity, restores victims, removes barriers to opportunity for people with criminal records, and ensures equal justice for all under the law. Read more about our support for social entrepreneurs committed to criminal justice and policing reform.