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Book Review: The Use of Force in Criminal Justice

By Richard M. Hough. Routledge; 192 pages; $51.95

0820-NewsTrends-Book-Review-The-Use-of-Force-in-Criminal-Justice.jpgCurrent events underscore the importance of understanding “use of force.” Dr. Richard Hough, who has a background in law enforcement, corrections, and education, employs useful examples to clearly illustrate and emphasize the concepts in The Use of Force in Criminal Justice. The book emphasizes the practical side of the issue and targets law enforcement managers.

Real-life examples are reviewed and analyzed so that readers cannot help but understand the lessons learned. Current best practices are explained for ensuring that incidents are thoroughly investigated at the time of occurrence. Because complaints and litigation can occur years after an incident, Hough illustrates his recommendations with actual litigation examples. Further, he addresses each point from a police officer’s perspective, with advice on how to prevent, manage, and minimize use of force incidents.

The author emphasizes the importance of balancing policy and procedure, as well as how to properly investigate and discipline an officer who uses excessive force. He also provides ample material on how to support and defend officers when they act within the law and correctly follow procedures. There is also coverage of topics such as memory distortions and recall; chain of command responsibilities; and fair, detailed, and open investigations.

This book is a good reference for law enforcement and security management, police academies, and both proprietary and contract security organizations. It is also a good in-service training resource. Every public and private officer, supervisor, and executive will benefit from the concepts and recommendations in this book. The information provides insight for classes in any security studies or liberal arts criminal justice program. Anyone interested in a law enforcement or security profession as a career should read this book to better understand the decisions that have to be made on the job every day.

Reviewer: Mark H. Beaudry, CPP, is a frequent reviewer for Security Management and a longtime member of ASIS.