NYPD Releases 2017 Use-of-Force Report

December 19, 2018

Lowest number of recorded firearm discharges since official record-keeping began in 1971

The New York City Police Department today released its 2017 Annual Use-of-Force Report. This report marks the second time the NYPD has produced a comprehensive accounting, not only of firearms discharges, but of conducted electrical weapons (CEW) discharges, commonly known as "Tasers," general uses of force, and injuries incurred by officers in adversarial confrontations.

The NYPD had the lowest number of recorded firearm discharge incidents since the department started official record keeping in 1971. 2017 recorded a -53.2% difference compared to 2007 when the department introduced the Annual Firearms Discharge Report (52 vs. 111). Firearms discharge incidents were down by -27.8% in 2017 vs. 2016 (52 vs. 72). The NYPD, the largest municipal police force in the United States, has continued to set the trend for reducing use-of-force encounters and increasing transparency when it comes to interacting with the public they serve.

"NYPD cops are among the most restrained law enforcement officers in the United States when it comes to using force in the performance of their duties," Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill said. "Statistics continue to demonstrate that over the last nearly-half-century, the NYPD has made extraordinary progress in substantially reducing firearms discharges by our officers. This has been accomplished through the adoption of a clear firearms use policy, regular training, exacting reporting, careful tracking, extremely thorough investigation of incidents, and sustained internal evaluation and oversight. We always have to balance transparency and accountability with police officer safety, and I am glad we can provide this valuable data. This is a true testament to the professionalism of our officers, and every part of it helps us build trust and strengthen relationships with all the people we serve in New York City."

Consistent with the increased availability of less lethal options for officers, the number of tasers increased from 501 to 728 or 45.3%. This follows an increase in members of service who have been trained — 16,442 in 2017 versus 10,832 in 2016, and an increase in CEWs assigned to commands — 2,372 in 2017 versus 1,710 in 2016.

The report once again highlights the recent implementation of NYPD's new Use-of-Force Policy, which took effect June 1, 2016. The policy consolidated all use-of-force procedures and guidelines within one section of the NYPD Patrol Guide. The policy defines three levels of reportable force—from physical takedowns through use of deadly force — and establishes reporting and investigation requirements and protocols for each level. Also in June 2016, the department began collecting more detailed aggregate data regarding the use of force. Among the information now collected are: the type of force used; the circumstances surrounding the use of force; injuries caused by uses of force; and identifying information for subjects against whom force was used; as well as the identifying information for officers against whom force was used.

To ensure comprehensive reporting, the NYPD disseminated training materials when the new policy was rolled out, and instituted systematic auditing and a force review. These processes served to educate members of the NYPD as the requirements of the policy and has led to a significantly higher reporting compliance rate. The report can be found here.

Statistics on Use-of-Force, 2017 vs. 2016

  2017 2016 Change +/-%
Firearms Discharge Incidents 52 72 -20 -27.8%
CEW Discharge Incidents 728 501 +227 +45.3%
Number of Rounds Fired
During ID-AC* Incidents
170 304 -134 -44.1%
Subject Injuries by Gunfire 9 23 -14 -61.8%
Subject Deaths by Gunfire 10 9 1 +11.1%

*ID-AC: "Intentional Discharge-Adversarial Conflict"

*Note: All Use-of-Force statistics are preliminary and subject to further analysis, revisions, or change.