Two Bowling Green State University researchers recently concluded a National Institute of Justice-funded study on police crime, the report of which will be released by the NIJ June 6, 2016.
The study provides insights into the nature and extent of police crime in the United States, what factors influence how a police organization responds to arrests of officers, and how to foster police integrity by exploring whether police crime and officer arrests correlate with other forms of police misconduct.
Philip Stinson, J.D., Ph.D., and John Liederbach, Ph.D., both associate professors in criminal justice, will share findings from their study in a June 23 webinar, “Police Integrity Lost: A Webinar to Discuss Findings from a Multiyear Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested.”
In the course of their research, Stinson and Liederbach analyzed data on 6,724 arrests over a seven-year period (2005-2011). These arrests involved more than 5,500 individual sworn law enforcement officers who were employed by more than 2,500 nonfederal state and local law enforcement agencies located in 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Participants can learn more by registering for the free webinar scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 23. Register now at www.bgsu.edu/pilwebinar
The webinar is supported by Award No. 2011-IJ-CX-0024, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the webinar are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.
In the seven year period 2005-2011, we have in our database 48 arrest cases where a nonfederal sworn law enforcement officer was charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty incident in which the arrested officer did not shoot someone with a firearm. Of those cases, we are missing conviction data in seven of the arrest cases. In those cases where we have conviction data, 61.0% (n = 25) were convicted, and 39.0% (n = 16) were not convicted. Note that here the unit of analysis is arrest case (and not arrested officer). Eight of the arrested officers (n = 38) had more than one case included in this sample of 48 arrest cases.
Phil Stinson appeared on AC360 on December 9, 2014.
A new research article Police Sexual Misconduct: Arrested Officers and their Victims has been prepublished online by the journal Victims & Offenders. Police sexual misconduct encompasses a range of acts from less serious noncriminal behaviors to more egregious criminal behaviors including police sexual violence. Victims of sex crimes are often reluctant to report sexual abuse when the offender is a police officer. The study provides empirical data on 771 sex-related arrest cases in years 2005-2008 of 555 sworn officers at 449 nonfederal law enforcement agencies across the United States. The study identifies and describes incidents where officers were arrested for sex crimes through a quantitative content analysis of published newspaper articles and court records. Findings focus on arrested officers and their victims. The co-authors of the article are Philip Stinson, Steven Brewer, Brooke Mathna, John Liederbach, and Christine Englebrecht.
In recent days I have received a number of media inquiries regarding police-involved shootings. While there are limited data publicly available, some of the data collected in my NIJ-funded research study of police crime in the United States provide context.
Note though, however, that several gun-related variables were not included in the analyses provided in our draft final technical report that was submitted to the NIJ in June 2014, as these specific variables were supplemental variables added to our study for coding and analyses after we commenced work on the NIJ-funded study. In other words, a few specific gun-related variables were not included in my original dissertation study (2009) nor were they included in our grant application to NIJ during 2011. Rather, these specific gun-related variables were added by me to our data collection instrument in 2012. Since that time, graduate research assistants working with me have gone back and completed supplemental coding on these and other supplemental variables for all of the police crime arrest cases during the years 2005-2011 in our database. In the months ahead we will be conducting additional analyses on gun-related cases in our database of police crime arrests and providing that information to the NIJ at the U.S. Department of Justice.
The study identified 6,724 cases in which nonfederal sworn law enforcement officers were arrested during the years 2005 through 2011. The cases involved the arrests of 5,545 individual sworn officers employed by 2,529 state and local law enforcement agencies located in 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The findings indicate that nonfederal law enforcement officers were arrested nationwide during 2005-2011 at a rate of 0.72% officers arrested per 1,000 officers, and at a rate of 1.7 officers arrested per 100,000 population nationwide.
Within the aforementioned arrest cases, there are 664 cases involving an officer who was arrested during the years 2005-2011 for a crime where the arrested officer was alleged to have “pulled, pointed, held, or fired a gun and/or threatened someone with a gun.” The 664 arrest cases involving police misuse of firearms involve 518 individual officers (71 officers had more than one arrest case because of having multiple victims and/or crimes occurring on more than one occasion). More than two-thirds of the criminal cases involving misuse of firearms occurred on-duty (70.5%), but many occurred while the officer was off-duty (29.5%). The majority of officers arrested for crimes involving firearms were arrested by a law enforcement agency that is not the officer’s employing agency (71.1%). Most of the cases involving gun-related crimes allegedly committed by officers were prosecuted in state courts (n = 614, 92.5%).
More than three-fourths of the cases where an officer was arrested for a crime involving firearms involved nonsupervisory patrol officers (77.1%), and the majority were employed by municipal police departments (78%) or sheriff’s offices (11.9%) located in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The states with the highest number of cases involving officers arrested for crimes involving firearms are California (n = 60, 9%), New York (n = 47, 7.1%), Louisiana (n = 44, 6.6%), and Tennessee (n = 41, 6.2%). There were 8 criminal cases in Missouri during the years 2005-2011 involving an officer having allegedly “pulled, pointed, held, or fired a gun and/or threatened someone with a gun.”
Officers arrested during 2005-2011 for crimes involving firearms were charged with a variety of different crimes. In the criminal cases where an officer was alleged to have “pulled, pointed, held, or fired a gun and/or threatened someone with a gun,” the most serious offenses charged, among others, include: aggravated assault (n = 241, 36.3%), murder and nonnegligent manslaughter (n = 71, 10.7%), weapons offenses (n = 63, 9.5%), simple assault (n = 54, 8.1%), robbery (n = 53, 8.0%), intimidation / harassment (n = 50, 7.5%), criminal deprivation of civil rights (n = 29, 4.4%), and negligent manslaughter (n = 10, 1.5%).
As to the criminal cases involving an officer arrested for gun-related murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, less than half of those cases involve crimes that occurred when the arrested officer was on-duty (n = 31, 43.7%), although the majority of gun-related cases where an officer was arrested for negligent manslaughter occurred when the arrested officer was on-dury (n = 10, 83.3%).
Conviction data are missing within our database for many of the gun-related police crime arrest cases (n = 273, 41.1%). In those cases where conviction data are available, officers were convicted on at least one criminal offense charged in over two-thirds of the gun-related cases (n = 266, valid 68%). Arrested officers were known to have been held in custody pending trial in about one-fourth of the gun-related arrest cases (n = 116, valid 25.8%).
Some data are available on victim injuries in the gun-related police crime arrest cases: no victim injury (n = 327, valid 55.2%), victim had minor injuries (n = 67, valid 11.3%), victim had serious injuries (n = 100, valid 16.9%), victim died from their injuries (n = 98, valid 16.6%).
Copies of Phil Stinson’s working papers, articles, podcasts, and other publications that are products of our current NIJ-funded police integrity research project — Police Integrity Lost: A Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested, 2005-2011 — are available for downloading at no cost from ScholarWorks@BGSU, the digital repository at Bowling Green State University.