Use-of-force policies can play critical—yet sometimes conflicting—functions in regulating police violence. On the one hand, such policies, if rigorously drafted and enforced, could help us to reduce police violence and to hold police accountable for violent actions, including discipline and termination. On the other hand, use-of-force policies that, for example, give officers a great deal of discretion only serve to legitimize further state-sanctioned abuse by law enforcement. It is essential that advocates fully interrogate use-of-force policies to maximize their potential for reducing harm to people of color and minimize adverse consequences.

The following toolkit offers metrics and language that advocates may use as guidance when reviewing these policies.