Youngstown police to study use of force, pursuit stats from 2019

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Use of force increased 14% in 2019, while pursuits declined about 20%

Police car generic - Youngstown Police Department

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Administrators at the Youngstown Police Department plan to closely study two areas after preliminary statistics from 2019 were released this week.

The number of pursuits declined in 2019 from 117 to 93, a decrease of about 20%, said Staff Inspector Lt. Brian Butler.

Use Of Force incidents, on the other hand, increased from 68 in 2018 to 74, an increase of about 14%, Butler said.

Butler said the plan is to study those statistics more closely, including looking at each incident, to try and figure out why the numbers are different.

If a reason can be found, especially for the use of force, the in-service training that officers receive on a regular basis will be tailored to address the reasons why, Butler said.

Butler said his own personal feeling as to why use of force increased is because people have a more negative view of police in recent years and that sometimes leads them to be more combative.

Police Chief Robin Lees said he is not overly concerned because a 14% increase is not a drastic change, but he did say he welcomes a more in-depth study of the statistics to determine if there are any trends that need addressed.

In November, the department announced it will be taking part in an FBI study on use of force by police departments. The types of incidents that will be reported are if someone is hospitalized or seriously injured, or if they die. There were no such incidents in 2019.

Officers fill out reports for any use of force, including if they use their Tasers or discharge their firearm at or toward a person. They are studied by supervisors to see if there is anything that could have been done differently and to make sure the officers are following the department’s use-of-force policy.

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