Use of Control Training and Statistics

The Lincoln Police Department recognizes that the use of control by officers is a critical issue. Each Lincoln Police officer is involved in dozens of interactions on a daily basis. Some of these interactions involve officers using a reasonable amount of physical control in order to carry out their lawful duties. Throughout all of these actions, Lincoln Police officers recognize the sanctity and priority of preserving human life. Officers are trained in the skills needed to de-escalate critical situations and attempt to do so, if possible, before utilizing control methods.

For many years, we have used what is often referred to as a "Use of Force Continuum." This continuum aids officers in utilizing proper levels of control based upon the level of resistance being exhibited by a suspect. LPD officers are trained at the basic academy as well as during in-service veteran officer training to properly apply the continuum to the situations that they face.

In addition to the continuum, officers are provided a number of skills and tools to assist them in these challenging situations. We use a nationally recognized use-of-control program called Pressure Point and Control Tactics (PPCT) to train our officers in the use of physical control of a suspect. Officers are also trained to use a variety of less than lethal weapons, including the use of batons, Tasers, pepper spray, and impact munition weapons. Officers are also trained to use department-issued handguns. Officers achieve initial certification in these tools in the basic academy, but must continue training every year to maintain that certification.

In addition to thorough training, use of control incidents require additional reports and levels of review. Any incident involving injury to an officer or a suspect, or involving the use of a weapon, is required to be documented on a Use of Control Technique Report. This report collects all of the relevant data surrounding the incident, and is reviewed by the officer's supervisors, LPD Training Unit staff, and members of the department administration. Any issues or concerns regarding the use of control are then addressed through the disciplinary process.

In 2022, Lincoln Police officers used physical control against a suspect in a total of 204 incidents. That number is out of 114,913 calls for service, 34,124 arrests and citations, and 25,003 traffic stops in 2022. This means out of 174,040 formal contacts with citizens (calls for service plus traffic stops), Lincoln Police used control during roughly .1% of those interactions. Keep in mind, each call for service, traffic stop, or interaction could involve contacting 5, 10, or 100 individuals, meaning that the fraction of interactions which result of physical control being used is truly very small.

LPD Statistics  |  2022
Number of calls for service 114,913
Number of arrests and citations 34,124
Number of traffic stops 25,003
Number of times control was used by an LPD officer 204
Percentage of contacts where control was used  .1%

 

 


On 7 occasions in 2022, Lincoln police officers were faced with a suspect perpetrating a deadly force assault. A deadly force assault means that the officer was faced with a substantial risk of suffering death or serious bodily harm as a result of the suspect's actions. In all of those incidents, the officers avoided using their firearm against the suspect and instead utilized other tools to make a safe apprehension.

Deadly Force  |  2022
Deadly force assaults against Lincoln Police officers 7
Lethal force used by Lincoln Police officers 0

 


The vast majority of the physical control used by Lincoln police officers in 2022 involved physically engaging with a suspect without utilizing any weapons. This occurred in 130 incidents. In 42 incidents, Lincoln police officers deployed a Taser to assist in subduing a suspect. In 10 incidents, officers used pepper spray to aid in apprehension.

Levels of Control by LPD  |  2022
Total number of control incidents 204
Physical engagement only 130
Taser deployment 40
Pepper spray used 10
Firearms 0

 


Out of the 134 known suspects involved in use of control incidents in 2022, 75 (56%) were White, 40 (30%) were Black and 10 (7%) were Hispanic. A total of 112 suspects (84%) were male and 22 (16%) were female.

Suspect Race and Gender in Use of Control Incidents  |  2022
White 75
Black 40
Hispanic 10
Native American 6
Asian 3
   
Male 112
Female 22

 

Doane University analyzed LPD's Use of Control data. According to their report, "LPD officers are using levels of control that are lower than the levels of resistance encountered, suggesting that officers appear to be adhering to the definition of reasonable and necessary given the circumstances." Doane University also noted that while African Americans were overrepresented as both suspects in assault on officer incidents and use of control incidents, this does not mean that African Americans are more likely to assault a Lincoln police officer, nor does this mean that the average LPD officer is more likely to use force on an African American compared to other races. Doane acknowledged that a multitude of factors affect how race, criminal behavior, and police response intersect. Finally, Doane's report found that levels of control utilized by officers did not differ among white and non-white subjects.