Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ross Alexander


The use of conducted energy devices (CEDs; e.g., TASER) in the U.S. has increased significantly since their endorsement by the police in the 1990s. Police administrators have struggled with CED placement in use of force continuums, and citizens have voiced concerns regarding their disproportionate use and health effects. An increase in understanding of the value of CEDs, specifically the devices’ role when used as a threat only, provides police administrators with more significant insights regarding their appropriate placement in department policies, which leads to more proportionate use by police officers. This phenomenological study explored police officers’ lived experiences involving displaying and threatening the use of CEDs on noncompliant individuals. The theoretical foundation of this study was prospect theory. Participants consisted of a purposive sample of five police officers from a municipal police department in Florida who used CEDs. Data were collected from semi structured interviews. The data were coded and analyzed by using a modification of the Van Kaam method of analysis as presented in Moustakas. Findings were presented in the form of five themes. Findings showed police officers perceived the TASER to be an effective tool in achieving compliance when used as a threat. Recommendations include developing further studies involving the inclusion of a warning stage in use of force continuums. The findings advance positive social change by providing policymakers additional insights into the value of CEDs and assisting them with determining their proper placement in the departments’ use of force policies. Proper CED placements in force continuums could result in a more balanced use of the devices and to a decrease in injuries to citizens.