Felonious Killings of and Assaults Upon Law Enforcement Officers, 1960-1999

Gregory Morrison, Ball State University

Violence against US police influence researcher, practitioner, and popular notions about the physical hazards of American policing. The most common official source of such information, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) Uniform Crime Report (UCR) program, is used by police to provide officer safety information to trainees, formulate policies and field procedures, as well as devise and emphasize various skills training activities. Perceptions of the relative risk associated with various assaults-e.g., with regard to assailant use of firearms, cutting instruments, blunt instruments, or physical weapons-play a role in shaping police and thus trainers' priorities regarding instructional priorities and scenario-based experiences. Therefore, the utility of such government information is tied to the accuracy, completeness, and representativeness of its portrayal of violent police-citizen interactions. The UCR and its companion LEOKA report are examined in this paper by way of (1) a variety of trends in assaults and felonious killings for the period 1960 - 1999, as well as (2) gauging the type and level of department participation in reporting assaults and assaults with injuries. Participation stability over this period is a potentially important factor in interpreting reported descriptive findings of the nature and extent of violence against police.

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Updated 05/20/2006