New York State Police — Use-of-Force Data

An analysis of over 5,000 records detailing NYSP use-of-force incidents from 2000 to 2020 reveals:

  • Officers engaged in 5,554 reported use-of-force incidents from 2000-2020.
  • Nearly 50 officers were named in ten or more use-of-force incidents, and 393 officers were named in five or more use-of-force incidents.
  • The 393 officers who were named in five or more incidents were involved in nearly half of all use-of-force incidents.
  • Nearly one in three use-of-force incidents arose during traffic stops. Officers used pepper spray or a taser in over half of such stops, and officers brandished their firearms in 36 percent of incidents that arose from traffic stops between 2018 and 2020.
  • Ten percent of use-of-force incidents between 2000 and 2017 occurred during a mental health response. 
  • In mental health responses in which force was used, officers deployed pepper spray in 36 percent of them and used tasers in 20 percent. 
  • Officers used tasers in two-thirds of the use-of-force incidents that occurred during a “welfare check” between 2018 and 2020.1  



Our analysis shows 5,554 reported use-of-force incidents occurred between 2000 to 2020, an average of 264 per year.2 Records include 3,725 individual officers named in at least one use-of-force incident. The 393 officers who were named in five or more incidents were involved in nearly half of all use-of-force incidents. In other words, about 10 percent of the officers in the database were named in one out of every two use-of-force incidents. Most officers have only one or two incidents associated with their name. 

Because the format of the use-of-force records changed significantly in 2017, the NYCLU analyzed the records from the two periods, 2000 to 2017 and 2018 to 2020, independently.

Use-of-Force Incidents

The records from 2000 to 2017 include information about 4,955 incidents that occurred between 2000 and 2017. Officers in Troop F, which operates in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, and Greene counties, engaged in more use-of-force incidents (756) than any other troop from 2000 to 2017, followed by Troop G (726), which operates in Albany, Schoharie, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Montgomery, Fulton, Saratoga, Washington, Warren, and Hamilton counties. Below is a map showing the use-of-force incidents by Troop from 2000 to 2017:

Officers operating in Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties, Troop G, Zone 2, engaged in more use-of-force incidents (339) than any other sub-area in the state, followed by officers in Rockland and Orange counties, Troop F, Zone 2 (324), and officers in Ulster and Greene Counties, Troop F, Zone 3, (309).  

Use-of-Force Incidents by Type

Nearly 45 percent of use-of-force incidents were categorized as “Physical Force - General,” a category that could include any number of discrete acts, like shoving a citizen or threatening the use of a taser or a firearm. Pepper spray and tasers were the next most common type of force used, accounting for 35 percent and 11 percent of use-of-force incidents, respectively.3 Below is a chart showing the frequency of incidents by force type:

When Does Use-of-Force Happen?

Ten percent of use-of-force incidents arose from a mental health related response, and 12 percent came during incidents of alleged disorderly conduct. Of the 506 incidents that arose from a mental health related response, pepper spray was used in 184 incidents (36 percent), and tasers were used in 99 incidents (20 percent). Of the 1,606 use-of-force incidents that arose from a traffic stop, 513 (32 percent) included the use of pepper spray and 144 (nine percent) included the use of tasers.

Use-of-Force Incidents by Context

Use-of-Force Incidents

An analysis of the records from 2018 to 2020 reveals that an additional 599 use-of-force incidents took place between 2018 and 2020.4 Of 599 use-of-force incidents, an officer brandished their weapon in 41 percent of incidents, used a taser in 44 percent of incidents, and used pepper spray in eight percent of incidents. 

Use-of-Force Incidents by Type

Use-of-Force Incidents by Context

Of the 156 incidents that arose from a traffic stop, officers used tasers in 51 percent of incidents and brandished their weapons in 36 percent of incidents – extreme responses to traffic enforcement, which is commonly a non-criminal enforcement action. Officers used tasers in about 66 percent of the 86 use-of-force incidents that occurred during a “welfare check.”

About the Data

The NYCLU requested much more data than the NYSP turned over. We continue to seek the full range of information that we originally sought, which would allow us to gain a better understanding of the way NYSP officers police our streets.

The records the NYSP turned over leave much to be desired. They are limited to several key pieces of information for each misconduct investigation and use-of-force incident, including the names of the officers who were involved in use-of-force incidents and the officers who were the subject of a “founded” misconduct investigation. However, the NYSP refuses to disclose the names of officers who were the subject of a misconduct investigation that was not founded by their Investigations Bureau. The NYCLU is suing the NYSP for the remaining names and the individual records themselves, which are being illegally withheld from the public.

The records that are a part of this analysis are the product of the NYSP’s internal records, so use-of-force incidents or acts of officer misconduct that are not reported to the NYSP or for whatever reason were not maintained by the NYSP will not be captured in the records.

Download Data


From 2000-2017, there are 612 incidents where two types of force listed, as opposed to one. In those cases, for the purposes of summary, the more severe force was analyzed. For example, if an incident listed two types of force, one that was “physical force – general,” “struck by object,” “K9”, “Handcuff Injury,” or “Other,” and one that was “used taser,” “used pepper spray,” or “used weapon,” the use of taser, pepper spray, or weapon was analyzed and the less serious type of force was treated as incidental. If an officer used their “weapon” (firearm), that force value was prioritized over any other type of accompanying force type.

From 2000-2017, many cases listed two officers, a “primary” officer, and a “secondary” officer. In analyzing an officer’s incident history, the NYCLU summarized all incidents in which they were named, regardless of whether they were named as the primary or secondary officer. The troop assignment of the primary officer was used to match use-of-force incidents to Troops.

First and last name was used to group incidents by officer. Badge number was not used since there is evidence that badge numbers can be reassigned after retirement.

The analysis of force type and the context in which force arose required categorizing dozens of values into relatively fewer categories. Common sense was used to create these categories. Both the original values and the adopted categories are available in the raw data published by the NYCU.

If the force value read “Division weapon” or “Discharged firearm,” the NYCLU assumed the officer used their firearm.

Last Updated: 8-15-23


This analysis was performed by Jesse Barber, edited by Simon McCormack with design and layout by Pooj Padmaraj.


1. Though the NYSP does not publicly define the term “welfare check,” it is commonly understood as referring to a non-criminal investigation into a civilian’s well-being.
2. In many incidents there were multiple officer names associated with the same incident.
3. For purposes of analysis, several type of force values were grouped together into eight categories for simplicity.
4. While the second batch of investigations is referred to as investigations occurring between 2018-2020, the period includes 42 records from 2017 as well.
5. The frequency at which officers brandished their weapons was not tracked before 2018. 

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