Assessing the Validity and Reliability of National Data on Citizen Complaints about Police Use of Force, 2003 and 2007 (ICPSR 36042)

Principal Investigator(s): Hickman, Matthew J., Seattle University

Summary:

These data are part of the NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed excepted as noted below. All direct identifiers have been removed and replaced with text enclosed in square brackets (e.g.[MASKED]). Due to the masking of select information, variables/content described in the data documentation may not actually be available as part of the collection. Users should consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This collection is one part of the Department of Justice's response to 42 USC 14142, a law which requires the U.S. Attorney General to 1) "acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers" and 2) "publish an annual summary of the data." Researchers compared agency-level data reported in the 2003 (ICPSR 4411) and 2007 (ICPSR 31161) waves of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) surveys with available external sources including publicly available reports and direct contact with agency personnel. The purpose of this study was to assess validity and reliability of the available agency-level reported data on citizen complaints about police use of force.

Access Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

Dataset - Download All Files (0.316 MB)
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Study Description

Citation

Hickman, Matthew J. Assessing the Validity and Reliability of National Data on Citizen Complaints about Police Use of Force, 2003 and 2007. ICPSR36042-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-06-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36042.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36042.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2013-R2-CX-0035)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    citizen crime reporting, police citizen interactions, police departments, police use of force

Smallest Geographic Unit:    None

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2003
  • 2007

Date of Collection:   

  • 2002
  • 2006

Unit of Observation:    Police agency

Universe:    Large municipal police departments in the United States.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

In order to replicate the researchers' results, it is necessary to merge this dataset with the 2003 and 2007 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) surveys using the variables PERF_ID and SURVEYID. The LEMAS data are available as ICPSR 4411 and ICPSR 31161.

Users of this data are encouraged to review the LEMAS study documentation association with ICPSR 4411 and ICPSR 31161 for more information on the scope, sampling and methodology of these data collections.

Methodology

Study Purpose:    The purpose of this study was to assess validity and reliability by comparing agency-level data reported in the 2003 and 2007 waves of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) surveys with available external sources.

Study Design:   

The study was divided in four phases. The first phase consisted of the merging of the 2003 and 2007 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey data (collected in 2002 and 2006, respectively) for large municipal police departments and conducting basic descriptive analyses of those data.

The second phase of the study aimed to assess the reliability of the complaints data by conducting a within-agency comparison of the two years of the LEMAS survey data. A distributional rationale was used for identifying relatively large changes from 2002 to 2006 in both the volume of complaints and sustained complaints and rates of such complaints (per 100 officers). Where large changes were observed, the researchers used publically available reports, any publically accessible records and/or data, and direct contacts with agency personnel to explain these changes.

The third phase of the study aimed to assess the validity of the complaints data using a simple random subsample (n=100) of agencies. Researchers used the 2003 and 2007 LEMAS survey data and publically available reports and records and/or data and direct contact with agency personnel to ensure the survey data corresponded with the external criterion within an acceptable range.

The fourth phase of the study intended to replicate an analysis of administrative, organizational, and environmental correlations of complaints about police use of force. The results from the second and third phase led researchers to conclude that the fourth phase was unnecessary.

Sample:    The dataset contains data from the 2003 and 2007 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) surveys. The agencies selected for validation and reliability analysis (n=100) were selected at random and if they were present in both waves of the LEMAS surveys.

Weight:    None

Mode of Data Collection:    record abstracts, mixed mode

Data Source:

Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS), 2003 (ICPSR 4411)

Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS), 2007 (ICPSR 31161)

Description of Variables:   

The dataset (n=496) contains 24 variables.

Researchers used two variables (PERF_ID and SURVEYID) in order to link this dataset to the 2003 (ICPSR 4411) and 2007 (ICPSR 31161) Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey data on large police municipalities.

The dataset contains variables related to the number of formal citizen complaints received during 2002 regarding police use of force. This includes total number of complaints as well as unfounded, exonerated, not sustained, sustained, pending and other disposition complaints.

The dataset contains variables related to the number of formal citizen complaints received during 2006 including total complaints as well as pending, sustained, and other disposition complaints. Notably missing are the exonerated and not sustained complaints. These were not asked in the 2007 LEMAS survey.

Researchers also included variables that identified the name of the police agency, identified whether or not the agency was in both the 2003 and 2007 LEMAS survey data, whether or not the agency was selected at random for validation, and how an agency, if selected at random for validation, responded to researcher contact.

Finally, researchers included variables that served as verification and validation of the total use of force complaints in both 2002 and 2006 and the sustained use of force complaints in both 2002 and 2006.

Response Rates:    Not applicable

Presence of Common Scales:    None

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2017-06-30

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