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To my elected officials in my district, Less than 10% of the law enforcement agencies in the United States have written policies regarding the level of force used in relation to the amount of resistance encountered that encompass the spectrum of available force options (Terrill & Paoline, 2012). Less than 30% of law enforcement agencies “instruct officers in the form of a progression of force levels via continuum but do not indicate (i.e., link) how such force should be used in response to varying levels of citizen resistance or only semilink force and resistance” (Terrill & Paoline, 2012, p. 52). These findings, derived from data from a Department of Justice funded study under Grant No. 2005-IJ-CX-0055 (Terrill & Paoline, 2012) punctuate the potential for poorly trained and inexperienced law enforcement personnel to commit violations of amendments 4, 5, and 8 of the United States Constitution (Bruder, 1988; Terrill & Paoline, 2012). I urge you, as my elected representative, to become a part of policy change to develop national guidelines with regard to level of force used based upon amount of resistance encountered to serve as training points for law enforcement agencies across the country. Doing so is not only your constitutional obligation as an elected official, but also has the potential to protect to save both civilian and law enforcement lives. In light of recent events, such as the death of George Floyd, I am asking you to either form, or be a part of a bipartisan committee to stem the tide of violence and be a part of the solution in ending racism. References Bruder, S. (1988). When police use excessive force Choosing a Constitutional threshold of Liability in Justice V. Dennis. St John’s Law Review, 62(4), 735-750. Terrill, W., & Paoline, E. A. (2012). Examining less lethal force policy and the force continuum: Results from a national use-of-force study. Police Quarterly, 16(1), 38-65. [This correspondence was cut and pasted from the blog, Deconstructing Racism, Let’s Talk About Race, the entry dated June 2, 2020, written by Dr. Brett H. Cook-Snell, https://bretthcook.blog/ and used by permission.]
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