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Analysis of 2018 Use of Deadly Force by the Phoenix Police Department

Publication Date

April 2019


Jeff Rojek, Justin Nix, Scott Wolfe, Geoff Alpert, and James Burch


In 2019, the National Policing Institute, with researchers from the University of Michigan, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of South Carolina conducted an analysis of Phoenix Police Department’s use of deadly force for the purpose of attempting to identify factors that may be related to the extraordinary increase in PPD officer-involved shooting (OIS) events in 2018. The study involved a multi-method review of agency data on OIS to identify differences between OIS events in 2018 and prior years, and analysis of data that captures factors in the operating environment and organizational factors trending with this OIS increase, providing a  “position neutral” approach, allowing the data to show what factors should be explored through identified differences. The study found that while 2018 appears to be a statistical yet tragic anomaly that has occurred in Phoenix and other agencies alike, there are several factors identified that are noteworthy and warrant further exploration including an increase in subjects armed with firearms or simulated firearms involved in OIS encounters, and a significant increase in reported assaults on officers, specifically assaults on officers involving firearms. The report provides nine key recommendations that are intended to address the use of deadly force, accountability and transparency and other areas.

Research Design


Research Methods

Secondary data analysis, Interviews, Focus groups, Observation / Participant observation

Recommended Citation

Rojek, J., Nix, J., Wolfe, S., Alpert, G., Burch, J., Grieco, J., & Robbins, T. (2019). Analysis of 2018 use of deadly force by the Phoenix Police Department. Washington, DC: National Policing Institute. https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/analysis-of-2018-use-of-deadly-force-by-the-phoenix-police-department/