Title

Police Use of Force Against Drug Suspects: Understanding the Need for Policy Development

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 2001

Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

When confronted by the potice, drug suspects sometimes attempt to destroy evidence by oratty ingesting the contraband in their possession. Potice officers have timited time to react before this evidence is destroyed. These conditions raise the question ofexactty how much force officers may emptoy tawfutty to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence. If an officer overreacts and uses more force than reasonably necessary to retrieve the drugs, the evidence may be ruled as inadmissibte at triat. Furthermore, the apptication of excessive force may expose the officer and the agency to ctaims of civit tiabitity for injury or damages. Given the myriad of tegat questions arising within this unique context, this paper reviews relevant federal and state case law to assess the tegatity of various tevets of force when resotving such situations. Law enforcement agencies need to devetop appropriate poticy statements to guide officer behavior during these types offietd encounters.

Publication Title

American Journal of Criminal Justice

Volume

25

Issue

2

First Page

173

Last Page

197