Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) and Citizen Injuries: The Shocking Empirical Reality

William Terrill, Eugene A. Paoline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


As one of the contemporary additions to the use of force spectrum, conducted energy devices (CEDs) have been surrounded by controversy. Such concerns have fueled a number of studies, many of which have attempted to examine the relationship between CEDs and citizen injuries. This limited body of research, however, has produced inconsistent results and suffers from a number of documented drawbacks. Drawing on data collected as part of a national multi-agency use of force project, the current study analyzes nearly 14,000 use-of-force incidents across seven agencies, over 2,600 of which involve a CED, to assess the potential impact of CEDs on citizen injuries. In doing so, a series of multivariate statistical models are employed that isolate CED cases and compare them to a number of both hands-on and weapon-based tactics. Unlike previous research, which often highlights the beneficial aspects of CEDs in relation to injuries, our findings generally show an increased risk between the use of CEDs and citizen injuries. As such, more research is needed before deriving any conclusions as to the "safeness" of CEDs, especially in relation to the choice between using a CED or an alternative means of dispute resolution (either hands-on physical force or another weapon).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-182
Number of pages30
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • citizen injuries
  • conducted energy devices
  • police
  • use of force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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