The commonly held belief that officers are safer when carrying fewer tools is a fallacy.
According to the National Institute of Justice’s study, Less Lethal Weapon Effectiveness, Use of Force, and Suspect & Officer Injuries, confrontations in which officers used less force than the suspects they were apprehending tended to last longer and lead to more injuries than confrontations that were subdued in the first iteration, or use of force. Hospitals that presume that tools add risk are actually pushing themselves into a higher risk category. Continue…
At the core of the five-year study is the premise that security officer gear is right for the right job. That is, in any given scenario, the officers need to respond quickly to a threat using the most appropriate and least intrusive tools and techniques. Based on an analysis of more than 4,300 use of force reports from two major law enforcement agencies, the study found:
- Injuries to both suspects and officers increased in proportion to the length and duration of the confrontation. In the first iteration (use of force), suspects were injured 11% of the time. This number rose to 25% in the second iteration, and 33% in the third and final iteration.
- Officers were injured in 3.2% of all cases, and the overall percentage of injuries increased substantially as the suspect and officer encounter continued. In the first iteration, the injury rate for officers was 1%. In conflicts where use of force and resistance ended at the second iteration, the injury rate increased to 3%, while 11% percent of officers were injured in confrontations which ended at the third iteration.
- OC pepper spray, stun guns and canines were the three most effective tools at ending over 60% of confrontations after the initial iteration, and they were twice as effective as takedowns, which were effective just 41% of the time.
- Officers who used less force than the suspects they were apprehending lead to longer confrontations and more injuries. Nearly 88% of the suspects confronted by less force in the first iteration remained non-compliant or escalated their level of resistance. In turn, officers who failed to subdue a suspect during the first iteration were again forced to respond to the suspect’s resistance in a second or third iteration, which increased the likelihood of patient and officer injuries.
Most hospital administrators don’t understand that a lack of response security officer tools tools translates into higher risks. We’re committed to lowering hospitals’ risk of injury and improving officer safety with the Enhanced Non-Lethal, intermediate response option which makes hospital security safer, smarter and stronger.The corollary in hospitals is clear: unarmed officers face the heightened risk that a given confrontation will continue, increasing the likelihood of injury to all parties.