Skip to Main Content
Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice


OER Course Conversion Projects


                       PSC 324

Police Use of Force: Legal, Theoretical and Practical Implication


                                   OER for PSC 324

PSC 324-01: Police Use of Force: Legal, Theoretical and Practical Implication is a ZTC (Zero-cost Textbook Course) / OER course, which means you don't have to purchase a textbook! The textbooks used are online books from the John Jay College Library. You will just have to put in your John Jay login information when prompted.

This course offers a deep examination of police use of force and its implications for American police and the communities they serve from a current and historical context.

Permissible limits of police use force are the subject of constant debate, interpretation and policy analysis. Topics include escalation, de-escalation and assessment period; problems arising between citizens and police resulting from use of force; social changes that impact police legitimacy; challenges and solutions for contemporary use of force; reasonableness; excessive force; proportionality and necessity.

Course Goals

  1. Discussions focus around issues including police power, discretion, due process, corruption, recruiting, screening, hiring, training and retaining officers, all in relationship to the use of force.

  2. Students gain an understanding of the law and how it relates to the use of force by the police. An understanding of what distinguishes between lawful and unlawful behavior in the amount of force used and what legal safeguards have been established to prevent or punish the use of excessive force.

  3. Students gain an understanding of the legitimate use of force, levels of force allowed and potential indicators for its abuse.

  4. Current incidents of national attention will be explored, as well as, classic and emerging research in the field.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the use of force continuum, understanding the application of force in the appropriate context.

  2. Identify the legal authority of the police to use force.

  3. State the interrelated function of police administration, court decisions and the law to establish parameters for police use of force.

  4. Demonstrate an understanding of ethical theories and issues relevant to the use of force

  5. Analyze and critique the operations and administration police in relation to the use of force.

  6. Explain what, if any, significant role the police subculture plays in the use of force.

  7. Demonstrate an ability to identify and analyze the potential causes of police use of excessive force.