Number and percentage of use of force incidents in proportion to the number of arrests made

Austin Police Department General Orders are designed to assist all employees in accomplishing the Department's mission in a professional and lawful manner. Provided are the General Orders that provide guidance and reference to the content below relating to Use of Force. 
Austin Police Department General Orders (General Order 200) states that:
it is the policy of this department that officers use only that amount of objectively reasonable force which appears necessary under the circumstances to successfully accomplish the legitimate law enforcement purpose in accordance with this policy.
and response to resistance (use of force) is defined by the same policy as:
Any physical contact with a subject by an officer using the body or any object, device, or weapon, not including unresisted escorting or handcuffing a subject…Any complaint by a subject that an officer caused pain or injury shall be treated as a response to resistance force incident, except complaints of minor discomfort from unresisted handcuffing.

Status

During 2019, there were 5,981 response to resistance reports, representing 2,870 subjects (those who received force). In 2019, 63% of all subjects had more than one officer use force and complete a report.
As a percent of total arrests, 11.8% involved resistance/force.


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In November of 2018, APD added a new level of response to resistance (Level 4), resulting in a higher amount of incidents reported for 2019. Levels 1-4 are defined below in the Austin Police Department General Orders. 


Additional Measure Insights

Reports By Level
The Austin Police Department General Orders defines Use of Force levels 1-4 (211.2 DETERMINING THE CORRECT FORCE LEVEL, p.82). 
During a response to resistance incident, an officer may need to use more than one type of force. Further, more than one officer may use force to control the situation. As a result, one incident may result in more than one response to resistance report and each report may include more than one type of force. Thus, the types of force used can be more than the total reports filed.
Incidents may include more than one type of force used, which can result in combinations in Response to Resistance level categories. As reflected in the chart, the combined 34 is a level 3 and a level 4. The 23 represents level 2 and level 3, and 24 represents level 2 and level 4 on one incident. 
Subjects and Race/Ethnicity
Most response to resistance incidents occur when an officer attempts to make an arrest. As mentioned earlier, the 2,870 subjects involved in 2019 response to resistance incidents represent 11.8% of the 24,397 arrests.
The table to the left shows the distribution of force and arrests by race/ethnicity.
Reports by Nature of Contact
In 2019, 68 percent of response to resistance reports resulted from dispatched calls for service. The other significant category of response to resistance reports resulted from viewed offenses – contacts made when the officer observed and responded to an offense in progress (16 percent).
Reports by Type of Force Used
During a response to resistance incident, an officer may need to use more than one type of force. Further, more than one officer may use force to control the situation. As a result, one incident may result in more than one response to resistance report and each report may include more than one type of force. Thus, the types of force used can be more than the total reports filed.
The chart shows the number of times each type of force was used. In 2019, the most frequent force type was "weaponless." Weaponless techniques are considered the lowest level of force used in response to subject resistance.
Subject Characteristics
In 77% of the 2019 response to resistance reports, officers noted that the subject was suspected to be under the influence of drugs/alcohol or emotionally disturbed (EDP) or both. The 36% of EDP situations represent 1,046 EDP subjects; of these, 229 (or 22%) met the criteria for emergency commitment and were committed to a health care facility. The 23% (no value) are the incidents that did not meet the characterization listed.  
Subject Resistance
Subject actions are defined and listed from most to least serious: Deadly Resistance, Aggressive Resistance, Defensive Resistance, Preparatory Resistance, Passive Resistance, Not Resistant.
For subjects who displayed more than one type of resistance, only the most serious subject resistance is included in the chart.
Subject Injury
In 2019, as in prior years, most subject injuries were categorized as "no complaint of injury or pain" (58% of subjects).
Reports by Officer Years of Experience
In 2019, officers with 1-5 years of service submitted the majority (60%) of response to resistance reports. Officers with 6-10 years of service submitted the next highest number of reports (19%).
As context, most response to resistance reports are submitted by patrol officers (84% in 2019).
Reports by Sector
26 percent of incidents involving use of force occurred in George sector, which is located in the downtown Austin area.

Measure Details and Definition

  1. Definition: This measure is how many people received use of force in proportion to the total number of arrests.
  2. Calculation Method: We calculated this measure using the formula: Total Number of use of force subjects divided by the total number of arrests.
  3. Data Collection Process: Use of force and arrests are tracked by APD.
  4. Measure Target Calculation: N/A
  5. Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Calendar Year)
Date page was last updated: May 2021