AUSTIN— Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime Initiative published the policy perspective, Police Use of Force: Foresight Over Hindsight.

“Highly publicized use of force incidents can blemish the legitimacy of a police organization,” said Michael Hughes, senior visiting fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “These instances can create a wide chasm between officers and citizens. Most police interactions with the public are lawful, including those where force is used. However, these facts are often absent in stories pushed out by media sources. Reasonable force is what the courts expect. Justices in Graham v. Connor set this benchmark. Arguably, the court did not offer this simply as a minimum standard. Policy and training approaches must always evolve. To maintain legitimacy and improve operations, police leaders must better address employee selection, force policy, and training.”

Key Points:

  • Adopt and inculcate the Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics training model proposed by the Police Executive Research Forum.
  • Invest in training that builds confidence and competency such as the Arlington Police Department model. Ground skills (grappling, for example) build both.
  • Require officer candidates and incumbents to demonstrate a level of physical fitness commensurate with the job.
  • Provide officers with scenario-based training. This training should reflect both “aggressive” scenarios and common duties and conflicts likely seen on the street.
  • Recruit officers with traits toward service, critical thinking ability, problem-solving ability, and interpersonal skills.

To read the policy perspective in full, please visit: