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Felonious Homicides of American Police Officers, 1977-1992 (ICPSR 3187) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The study was a comprehensive analysis of felonious killings of officers. The purposes of the study were (1) to analyze the nature and circumstances of incidents of felonious police killings and (2) to analyze trends in the numbers and rates of killings across different types of agencies and to explain these differences. For Part 1, Incident-Level Data, an incident-level database was created to capture all incidents involving the death of a police officer from 1983 through 1992. Data on officers and incidents were collected from the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) data collection as coded by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. In addition to the UCR data, the Police Foundation also coded information from the LEOKA narratives that are not part of the computerized LEOKA database from the FBI. For Part 2, Agency-Level Data, the researchers created an agency-level database to research systematic differences among rates at which law enforcement officers had been feloniously killed from 1977 through 1992. The investigators focused on the 56 largest law enforcement agencies because of the availability of data for explanatory variables. Variables in Part 1 include year of killing, involvement of other officers, if the officer was killed with his/her own weapon, circumstances of the killing, location of fatal wounds, distance between officer and offender, if the victim was wearing body armor, if different officers were killed in the same incident, if the officer was in uniform, actions of the killer and of the officer at entry and final stage, if the killer was visible at first, if the officer thought the killer was a felon suspect, if the officer was shot at entry, and circumstances at anticipation, entry, and final stages. Demographic variables for Part 1 include victim's sex, age, race, type of assignment, rank, years of experience, agency, population group, and if the officer was working a security job. Part 2 contains variables describing the general municipal environment, such as whether the agency is located in the South, level of poverty according to a poverty index, population density, percent of population that was Hispanic or Black, and population aged 15-34 years old. Variables capturing the crime environment include the violent crime rate, property crime rate, and a gun-related crime index. Lastly, variables on the environment of the police agencies include violent and property crime arrests per 1,000 sworn officers, percentage of officers injured in assaults, and number of sworn officers.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Incident-Level Data - Download All Files (2.3 MB)
DS2:  Agency-Level Data - Download All Files (1 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Fridell, Lorie A., and Antony M. Pate. FELONIOUS HOMICIDES OF AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS, 1977-1992. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: The Police Foundation [producer], 2001. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03187.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (91-IJ-CX-K025)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   crime rates, felony offenses, homicide, law enforcement agencies, police deaths, police officers, police safety

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1977--1992

Date of Collection:  

  • 1993

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: Incidents, Part 2: Agencies

Universe:   Part 1: All officers who were killed from 1983 through 1992 in the United States. Part 2: 56 largest police agencies in the United States from 1977 to 1992.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The final report for this study includes analysis of the effect of soft body armor. Data related to this can be found in POLICE USE OF FORCE [UNITED STATES]: OFFICIAL REPORTS, CITIZEN COMPLAINTS, AND LEGAL CONSEQUENCES, 1991-1992 (ICPSR 6274). (2) The user guide, codebook, and data collection instrument are provided by ICPSR as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Although many police policies are designed to protect officers from the threat of violence and a great deal of training is dedicated to teaching officers how to thwart assaults, researchers have paid little attention to the subject of police killings. This study examined the geographic and demographic context of police shootings, the weapons used to kill officers, the offense circumstances, the characteristics of the police victims and their assailants, and the punitive consequences for the offenders. The study was a comprehensive analysis of felonious killings of officers. The purposes of the study were (1) to analyze the nature and circumstances of incidents of felonious police killings and (2) to analyze trends in the numbers and rates of killings across different types of agencies and to explain these differences.

Study Design:   For Part 1 an incident-level database was created to capture all incidents involving the death of a police officer from 1983 through 1992. Data on officers and incidents were collected from the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) data collection as coded by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. In addition to the UCR data, the Police Foundation also coded information from the LEOKA narratives that are not part of the computerized LEOKA database from the FBI. The narrative data were added because they provide more detail than the summary data, particularly with respect to the progression of events leading to the killing. For Part 2 the researchers created an agency-level database to research systematic differences among rates at which law enforcement officers had been feloniously killed from 1977 through 1992. The investigators focused on the 56 largest law enforcement agencies because of the availability of data for explanatory variables. This data file contains variables representing the general environment of the 56 cities, the specific crime environment of those cities, and selected characteristics of the law enforcement agencies themselves.

Sample:   Not applicable.

Data Source:

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA), data of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program

Description of Variables:   Variables in Part 1 include year of killing, involvement of other officers, if the officer was killed with his/her own weapon, circumstances of the killing, location of fatal wounds, distance between officer and offender, if the victim was wearing body armor, if different officers were killed in the same incident, if the officer was in uniform, actions of the killer and of the officer at entry and final stage, if the killer was visible at first, if the officer thought the killer was a felon suspect, if the officer was shot at entry, and circumstances at anticipation, entry, and final stages. Demographic variables for Part 1 include victim's sex, age, race, type of assignment, rank, years of experience, agency, population group, and if the officer was working a security job. Part 2 contains variables describing the general municipal environment, such as whether the agency is located in the South, level of poverty according to a poverty index, population density, percent of population that was Hispanic or Black, and population aged 15-34 years old. Variables capturing the crime environment include the violent crime rate, property crime rate, and a gun-related crime index. Lastly, variables on the environment of the police agencies include violent and property crime arrests per 1,000 sworn officers, percentage of officers injured in assaults, and number of sworn officers.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File UG3187.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-03-30 File CB3187.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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