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Police violence: what the public doesn’t know

In the article “Police Violence: A Two Way Street,” retired police officer and psychologist Matthew Logan, PhD, explores the “untold story” behind accounts of police violence in the media. He provides insights into why a small percentage of violent incidents involving the police dominate the headlines, encourages greater public airing of the police perspective, and predicts how policing might change in the new climate of hatred and distrust.

The article appears in the Journal Violence and Gender, from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, and is available free on the Violence and Gender website until March 25, 2016.

The tactical approach that police use to preserve life, balancing an empathic response with the use of force when needed, accounts for their ability to intervene without any escalation in 87-90% of incidents of violence. “The small percentage of violent incidents involving police that make the news is actually a credit to the successful intervention and empathic response by police,” says Dr. Logan. The police officers’ side of the story typically goes untold because they don’t want to appear defensive or defenseless, and because “we’ve never told the story,” he contends.

“I would like to see a more open dialogue in the media,” says Dr. Logan. “The major networks should have women and men that have actually been in the trenches and know what it’s like out there when violence is center stage.”

“This piece by Dr. Logan could not be more timely,” says Violence and Gender Editor-in-Chief Mary Ellen O’Toole, PhD, Director of the Forensic Sciences Program, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), Forensic Behavioral Consultant, and Senior FBI Profiler/Criminal Investigative Analyst (ret.). “Dr. Logan has the credentials as an investigator, psychologist, and behavioral analyst to gives us a 360-degree look at a painful but growing phenomenon. He doesn’t allow us to take sides before we understand that there are two sides in this type of violence. He doesn’t want us, the readers, to necessarily change our minds, as much as he wants us to open our minds.”