Investigating the Relationship Between Workload and Officer-Involved Shootings of Unarmed Individuals

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Zwemer, Dara
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
This study examines the relationship between officer workload and lethal, officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals (LOIS-Us) that occurred in the United States between 2016 and 2018. The author created two indices of officer workload, total incident workload, and violent crime workload, using archival data. The indices were created for each state and municipality in which one or more LOIS-Us occurred. The author hypothesized that (1) states with more LOIS-Us would have higher workload indices than states with fewer LOIS-Us, and (2) both workload indices would be higher in municipalities where one or more LOIS-Us occurred than corresponding state-level indices. Unexpectedly, total incident workload was unrelated to LOIS-Us and violent crime workload was negatively correlated with LOIS-Us. Average state workload values were higher than the values in studied municipalities. Future research should explore whether these findings stem from officers with lower workloads having less experience responding to crimes.