Essay on Officer Assaults During Domestic Violence Calls

Published: 2021/12/16
Number of words: 1375


This is an essay presenting a review of Richard,s article concerning physical assaults of officers/police during domestic assault calls. Domestic and family violence calls are one source of attacks on officers, and police employment is fraught with the risk of bodily injury. One source of officer skepticism and pessimism is the incapacity to anticipate what conditions may result in an assault correctly. Officers would be able to take necessary precautions if they could detect which suspects constitute the highest chance of attack. The current research examined batterer behaviors and actions with whether or not the batterers physically abused responding authorities using data gathered from 1,951 domestic assault calls among cities/locations. The results indicated five major batterer traits that effectively predicted police attacks (job status, typical home with abusive person, alcoholic intake, destruction of private property, and angry attitude toward authorities (police in particular)). These hazard variables may be included in officer safety awareness training for reacting to domestic abuse incidents.


The author argues that there has been a great deal of discussion about the danger of police officers being assaulted when responding to domestic violence complaints over the past several years. While some researchers have established that domestic battery incidents account for quite a tiny fraction of officer strikes (Johnson, 2011), researchers in various groups have found domestic assault calls are among the three popular scenarios where police attacks occur (Johnson, 2011). Johnson poses that although other ticky-tack fouls have higher amounts of police violence, this does not imply that domestic assault calls are inherently “secure.” Just on the flip side, according to FBI data, more than 224,000 policemen in the United States were attacked while responding to family dispute cases between 1980 and 2003 (Johnson, 2011). Moreover, the author states that, although the lifetime risk for police attacks in the United States has been gradually rising over the past 30 years, the survival rate for officers assaulted during domestic violence calls has not increased. The failure to correctly anticipate what conditions may lead to an assault is considered to be a significant source of police negativity and officer suspicion of the public, prompting officers to stress the need to be constantly vigilant (Johnson, 2011). This makes a lot of sense since it may be highly beneficial to improve an officer’s ability to anticipate which domestic violence scenarios are most likely to result in an assault since they would take preventive measures.

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To strength this argument, the author brings forward different data analyses from researches conducted on this matter. The first was research examining the traits of attackers in 1,143 attacks on police officers across 37 local agencies in five U.S. states. The bulk of the attackers in these attacks were the youth (aged between 18 and 25 years), men, compressing of individuals of ethnic minorities, jobless, having consumed alcohol previous to the assault, and had exhibited an irate or aggressive attitude. Many of these people also had personal issues, such as a lack of upper secondary education, a criminal background, and home marital problems (Johnson, 2011). Similar research examined the assailant characteristics in all law enforcement officer killings reported to the FBI from 1985 to 1994. They discovered that most of the attackers aged between 15 and 29 years, male, belonging to ethnic-racial minorities, jobless, poor income level, unengaged, had been influenced by drugs or alcohol, and had a felony conviction.

Three other kinds of research were conducted in the western nations. The technique of data acquisition employed in all three of these research was the same. The data for the domestic violence event comes from official police records and surveys with domestic abuse victims performed by the study team within a week after the event (Johnson, 2011). There was additional information regarding the batterer’s actions before the arrival of the police acquired via conversations with victims of abuse, information regarding the batterer’s past convictions record was obtained from the government crimes database (Johnson, 2011). The attackers in all three of these English studies were found to be mainly lesser-income men who were jobless, had a felony conviction, and were consuming alcohol there at the occasion of the abuse. The majority were between the ages of 17 and 25, with an aggregate age of 22 (Johnson, 2011). However, these studies had some faults: there was no single effort made to forecast police assaults and to differentiate between assailants and non-assailants, and the studies also assumed that all occasions of assault are of the same manner.

Due to this shortcoming, three other studies were conducted. The first was the Minnesota Family Violence Research (Johnson, 2011), which included 1,250 cases processed by the Minneapolis Police Department. The second was a copy of the Minneapolis experiment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with 921 domestic violence cases investigated by the Milwaukee Police Department, and the most recent research was a replicated analysis in Miami, Florida, with 907 domestic violence cases processed by the Metro-Dade Police Department (Johnson, 2011). When the 3,078 instances from these three studies were combined, it was found that 98 cases (3.2 percent) included a female batterer, but none had attacked an officer. Due to the sheer lack of variation in the dependent variable for woman victims of abuse in the sample, it was decided to restrict this research to only male batterers. 33.3 percent of the time, the batterer left the area before the police arrived, removing the potential of an attack on the cops (Johnson, 2011). As a result, these 1,026 instances were omitted from the study, as were three more cases involving an attack on police by the abuse victim rather than the batterer (Johnson, 2011). The current study’s final dataset comprised 1,951 police-investigated domestic violence events (Johnson, 2011).


The research and arguments by Richard .R. Johnson, in which this essay is based, was very well thought, analyzed, and presented results in a relatively commendable manner. It was a good idea first to try to extract the characteristics of the attackers. This would be helpful to the officers in that they will be able to identify people who may pose a threat and maybe an indicator of a planned and potential assault. The aspect of obtaining data from police records and government databases was a brilliant idea since it could provide reliable and accurate information to be used for the research.

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However, the researches had some limitations. The fact that a portion of information was obtained through interviewing and having conversations with batterers poses a doubt on the reliability of the obtained data. The attackers can lie about the incidents that occurred during police assaults. For instance, assaulters can argue that there was no drug or alcohol influence to commit the acts. This might be a lie since the attackers can provide information just to appear innocent. Another limitation of the research is that there was no single effort made to forecast police assaults and to establish a difference between assailants and non-assailants. The studies also assumed that all occasions of assault are of the same manner. This means that all individuals with traits like been young, male, poor, and abusing drugs may be viewed as attackers, and yet some interact and cooperate with the officers without attacking them.

It could have been better if drug tests could be conducted on all suspects of attacking the officers to establish whether there was drug or alcohol influence since this could provide reliable data on the presence or absence of drugs on the assaulter’s body systems. Coming up with additional traits to establish differences between assaulters and non-assaulters will be an outstanding achievement since it will save innocent people who otherwise would be taken to be assaulters.

In conclusion, it’s worth noting that the author’s research provides the officers with insights on how to conduct operations, identify potential incidents of auscultations and come up with strategies to cub them. Follow-up research, using a reliable approach to obtain reliable data and involving the necessary participants, should be conducted to establish whether there might be changes in the current research results and even come up with more findings.


Johnson, R. R. (2011). Predicting officer physical assaults at domestic assault calls. Journal of Family Violence26(3), 163-169.

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