Lawsuits involving the police: a content analysis of newspaper accounts

Policing An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management (Impact Factor: 0.55). 01/2006; 29:625-642. DOI: 10.1108/13639510610711574

ABSTRACT Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study lawsuits involving the police using newspaper accounts from three large cities in the USA. Design/methodology/approach – A content analysis was conducted using 634 newspaper articles from the New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, and the Los Angeles Times from 1993-2003. Findings – Research findings reveal how prevalent racial and gender discrimination issues are in lawsuits involving the police; some of the differences in lawsuits filed by police employees compared to those filed by citizens; the extent of disciplinary action taken against police officers named in lawsuits, and any organizational changes (i.e. department policies, procedures, or training) made as a result of lawsuits filed against police agencies. Research limitations/implications – The findings from this study are based solely on what the newspapers chose to report. It may be the case that newspapers only report on extraordinary lawsuits involving the police, or lawsuits that result in moderate to large jury awards or settlements. Practical implications – Since there is currently no national data collection effort focused on lawsuits filed against the police, researchers are left to use the data sources available to them (in this case, newspaper articles). Originality/value – This paper presents the first study of lawsuits involving the police using newspaper accounts. Previous studies have used survey data, court records, and interviews.

  • No.: ISBN 1-59332-038-8. 01/2004;
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – To present qualitative data illustrating how some of the largest law enforcement agencies in the USA use risk management in their efforts to control police liability. Design/methodology/approach – To explore this topic, two main data sources were utilized: telephone interviews with 354 law enforcement agencies identified the prevalence of the use of risk management by police agencies; and survey data from police agencies provided descriptive information about the roles, duties, and placement of risk managers within each police organization. Findings – Telephone interviews revealed that 14 of the 354 (0.039 percent) law enforcement agencies identified risk management as one of several tools they use to control police-related liability within their organizations. This finding is surprising, given the increase in costs associated with settlements/payouts for police-involved litigation and liability claims over the past few decades. Research limitations/implications – Future research should identify the reasons why police agencies choose not to use risk management in their police liability management efforts. In addition, future research should explore how the characteristics of city government and/or political culture are associated with the use of risk management by law enforcement agencies. Practical implications – This paper can serve as a basic resource for police scholars and practitioners, city/county attorneys, risk managers, and various other city/county agents that are interested in learning about risk management as a way to manage police liability. Originality/value – This paper presents the first national study of risk management in police agencies in the USA.
    Policing An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 01/2005; 28(1):30-48. · 0.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the sources of municipal variation in the number of civil suits filed against police. Although a number of theoretical explanations are plausible, existing data and research are limited to a handful of rational/ technical explanations. A secondary analysis of a national survey data set reveals a moderate but manageable problem with missing data among the predictors. However, the problem is more severe for the outcome variable, the ratio of civil suits per 1,000 field officers, which is missing for about 70% of respondents. The authors explore a number of potential remedies based on recent advances in the statistical treatment of incomplete multivariate data. Their analysis suggests that data on civil suits are not missing randomly: There are important and quantifiable differences between respondents and nonrespondents to this survey item. These findings suggest a modest case of sample selection bias, which cannot be corrected using even the most recent statistical advances. The remedy lies not in statistics but in the use of new and creative research methods that account for the sensitive nature of the topic.
    Police Quarterly 01/2002; 5(2):222. · 0.68 Impact Factor


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May 30, 2014