The Impact of Conducted Energy Device Policies on Citizen Complaints against the Police
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Research has shown that police department policies have increased the deployment of CEDs and decreased suspect fatalities (Ferdik et al., 2014), but it has not yet been determined whether CED policies and training have had an impact on citizen complaints. This study examined survey responses of 244 police departments drawn from a national sample of 950 administered by Tailored Statistical Solutions. Using a negative binomial regression analysis the study examined the impact of three policy restriction variables and four training variables on the number of citizen complaints reported by a department after controlling for four common predictors of citizen complaints. The findings in this study were mixed. None of the Training variables were found to affect the number of citizen complaints. However, two out of three Restrictiveness variables were found to have an effect on the number of citizen complaints. Citizen complaints decreased as the distance between the ranks of CED use and firearms use on the force continuum decreased. Furthermore, citizen complaints decreased the higher the level of administrative review for non-injury CED deployments. Nevertheless, three of the four control variables remained significant when policy restrictions and training variables were included in the model. Citizen generated complaints increased when 50 percent or more of a department’s officers are issued CEDs, when the total number of CED deployments increased, and when the number of officers in the department increased. The limitations of this study as well as future directions for research are also discussed.