Charles Koch Foundation Awards $100K to Police Executive Research Forum to Study Precursors to Police Use of Force

Washington, June 29, 2017 – Today, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a Washington-based police research and policy organization, announced the launch of a new study that will identify and examine factors that give rise to use-of-force occurrences in police departments.

The study, supported by a $100,000 grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, will initially collect data from the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD), the 27th largest department in the nation, which agreed to work with PERF on this research. The data will be collected over the course of two years, and will compare incidents in which police used force with a comparison sample of arrests or other police encounters in which force was not used. Additional follow-up projects may later be conducted at other departments.

“The Prince George’s County Police Department proudly agreed to partner in this important new research that will help shape best practices for officers across the country,” said Prince George’s County Police Chief Henry P. Stawinski III. “As one of the most progressive and effective police departments in the nation, we are excited about breaking new ground in police science that will help identify the precursors to use of force.”

This comprehensive data collection protocol model will help identify factors that prompt officers to use any level of force when engaging a suspect. Understanding risk factors can help law enforcement agencies across the nation develop policies, practices, and training to minimize unnecessary police use of force and to save the lives of officers and civilians alike.

“Understanding the factors associated with the use of force by law enforcement is vitally important to improving policing and ultimately preventing loss of life,” said William Ruger, CKF’s Vice President of Research. “PERF is an influential and respected organization well-known in the policing community and well-suited to study this issue. The findings from this study promise to provide insightful recommendations for departments across the country as they strive to strengthen both public safety and trust between themselves and the communities they serve.”

PERF has been at the forefront of the debate surrounding police use-of-force following multiple demonstrations of tension between officers and civilians in communities across the country. Last year, PERF released its “30 Guiding Principles on Use of Force,” a set of national recommendations for officers handling situations involving subjects with mental illness, unarmed subjects, or subjects wielding weapons other than firearms.

“If officers are properly trained and equipped, there is a greater likelihood that they and the citizens they encounter can walk away unharmed from situations that otherwise might be dangerous,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of PERF. “Our work and research emphasize that police policies and training should be centered on the sanctity of all human life.”

No similar data currently exists relating to the topic of use-of-force.

For media inquiries, please contact: Stacia Komosinski, Media Relations Specialist, Charles Koch Institute, at 571-243-6987, or at stacia.komosinski@cki.org.

ABOUT THE CHARLES KOCH FOUNDATION

Founded in 1980, the Charles Koch Foundation supports hundreds of universities and other non-profit organizations across the country exploring the institutions that foster societal well-being. Through its giving, the Foundation aims to advance an understanding of how free societies improve the well-being of people around the world through educational initiatives in economics, philosophy, entrepreneurship, criminal justice, and other disciplines that have a direct impact on opportunities to thrive.

ABOUT THE POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM

(PERF) is an independent research organization that focuses on critical issues in policing. Since its founding in 1976, PERF has identified best practices on fundamental issues such as reducing police use of force; developing community policing and problem-oriented policing; using technologies to deliver police services to the community; and evaluating crime reduction strategies.

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