Glossary

Adverse Employment Outcome

Police crime arrest cases in this research study were coded for adverse employment outcomes: (1) terminated; (2) resigned; (3) demoted; and/or (4) suspended.

Age

The age of an arrested officer is coded as the age on the date of arrest. The age of a victim is coded as the victim’s age when the crime occurred.

Agency ID

State and local law enforcement agencies employing officers who were arrested are identified by a unique 8-digit number assigned to agencies in the data set for the 2008 wave of the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA), a periodic survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice. There were 17,985 state and local law enforcement agencies from across the country that participated in the 2008 CSLLEA. Agencies identified by an Agency ID starting with “999” in this police crime database are agencies who did not participate in the 2008 CSLLEA.

Aggravated Assault

An unlawful attack by one person upon another wherein the offender uses a weapon or displays it in a threatening manner, or the victim suffers obvious sever or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness. Aggravated Assault also includes assault with disease. This usually includes offenses such as pointing and presenting a firearm, brandishing a firearm, etc. A severe laceration is one that should receive medical attention. A loss of consciousness must be the direct result of force inflicted on the victim by the offender. Resisting arrest is coded as assault.

All Other Offenses

All crimes that are not previously listed in the 64 specific criminal offenses included in this research study.

Anabolic Steroids

Drugs of abuse that are anabolic steroids include testosterone and other anabolic steroids.

Arrested Officer

Individual sworn law enforcement officers included in this publicly-available database are identified only by a personal identifier number and not by personal name.

Arresting Agency

Cases in this research study were coded for whether the Arresting Agency is officer’s employer or whether the arresting agency is not officer’s employer.

Arson

To unlawfully and intentionally damage any real or personal property by fire or incendiary device.

Assisting or Promoting Prostitution

To solicit customers or transport persons for prostitution purposed; to own, manage, or operate a dwelling or other establishment for the purpose of providing a place where prostitution is performed; or to otherwise assist or promote prostitution.

Bad Checks

Knowingly and intentionally writing and/or negotiating checks drawn against insufficient funds or nonexistent funds. Note: this offense includes fraudulent checks and insufficient funds checks but not counterfeited checks or forged checks.

Bribery

The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of anything of value (i.e., a bribe, gratuity, or kickback) to sway the judgment or action of a person in a position of trust or influence.

Burglary / Breaking & Entering

The unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or a theft.

Cannabis

Drugs of abuse that are cannabis include marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, hashish and hashish oil.

Civil Rights Violation (Criminal)

Any federal or state criminal offense charging criminal deprivation of civil rights.

Counterfeiting / Forgery

The altering, copying, or imitation or something, without authority or right, with the intent to deceive or defraud by passing the copy or thing altered or imitated as that which is original or genuine or the selling, buying, or possession of an altered, copied, or imitated thing with the intent to deceive or defraud.

County

Counties and independent cities are identified by the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) county code. The independent cities (not part of a county, but treated as county equivalents in the FIPS county codes) in the United States are all of the cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the city of Baltimore in the State of Maryland, the city of St. Louis in the State of Missouri, and Carson City in the State of Nevada.

Credit Card / ATM Fraud

The unlawful use of a credit (or debit) card or automatic teller machine for fraudulent purposes.

Criminal Case Disposition

The known outcomes of the police crime arrest cases in this research study were coded as to whether the prosecution and court case ended in a (1) conviction or (2) nonconviction. Nonconvictions include, for example, acquittals and dismissals. Cases where the disposition is not known to the research team are coded as “unknown.”

Depressants

Drugs of abuse that are depressants include gamma hydroxybutyric acid, benzodiazepines, and other depressant drugs.

Disorderly Conduct

Any behavior that tends to disturb the public peace or decorum, scandalize the community, or shock the public sense of morality. Note: this offense includes affray, blasphemy, profanity, obscene language, disturbing the peace, and public nuisance.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving or operating a motor vehicle or common carrier while mentally or physically impaired as the result of consuming an alcoholic beverage or using a drug or narcotic. Note: this offense includes driving while intoxicated.

Drug / Narcotic Violation

The unlawful cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, use, possession, transportation, or importation of any controlled drug or narcotic substance.

Drug Equipment Violation

The unlawful manufacture, sale, purchase, possession, or transportation of equipment or devices utilized in preparing and/or using drugs or narcotics.

Drugs of Abuse

Known drugs of abuse in this research study are coded as: (1) amphetamine / methamphetamine; (2) amyl & butyl nitrate; (3) benzodiazepines; (4) cocaine; (5) codeine; (6) crack; (7) gamma hydroxybutyric acid; (8) hashish & hashish oil; (9) heroin; (10) hydrocodone; (11) hydromorphone; (12) LSD; (13) marijuana; (14) MDMA & analogs; (15) methylphenidate; (16) morphine; (17) nitrous oxide; (18) oxycodone; (19) phencyclidine & analogs; (20) tetrahydrocannabinol; (21) testosterone; (22) other anabolic steroids; (23) other depressants; (24) other hallucinogens; (25) other inhalants; (26) other narcotics; and (27) other stimulants.

Drug Offense

Cases coded in this research study as “drug-related” crimes are also coded for the existence of the following factors: (1) facilitating drug trade; (2) falsification; (3) forged prescription; (4) planting evidence; (5) selling, dealing, or trafficking; (6) sexually-motivated drug-related; (7) shakedown; (8) theft from evidence room; and (9) using (personal use).

Drug Type

See Drugs of Abuse.

Drunkenness

To drink alcoholic beverages to the extent that one’s mental faculties and physical coordination are substantially impaired. Note: this offense includes drunk and disorderly, common drunkard, habitual drunkard, and intoxication.

Duty Status

Coded as either on-duty at time of commission of crime charged, or off-duty at time of commission of crime charged. Officers arrested for driving under the influence while driving a police vehicle are coded as on-duty offenses (because the public has a reasonable expectation that officers driving a police vehicle are available to respond to emergency calls for service).

Embezzlement

The unlawful misappropriation by an offender to his/her own use or purpose of money, property, or some other thing of value entrusted to his/her care, custody, or control.

Evidence: Destroying / Tampering

A person commits the crime of tampering with evidence when he or she knowingly alters, conceals, or destroys any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to interfere with an investigation, possible investigation, or other proceeding by the government.

Extortion / Blackmail

To unlawfully obtain money, property, or any other thing of value, either tangible or intangible, through the use or threat of force, misuse of authority, threat of criminal prosecution, threat of destruction of reputation or social standing, or through other coercive means.

False Pretenses / Swindle / Confidence Game

The intentional misrepresentation of existing fact or condition or the use of some other deceptive scheme or device to obtain money, goods, or other things value.

False Report / False Statement

With the knowledge that the information reported, conveyed, or circulated is false, a person initiates a false report or warning of an alleged occurrence of a crime or other pertinent law enforcement information. Unsworn falsification (typically a misdemeanor) is included in this offense category. A person commits this crime when, with intent to mislead a public servant in performing his or her official function, he/she (1) makes any written false statement which he does not believe to be true, (2) submits or invites reliance on any writing which he knows to be forged, altered or otherwise lacking in authenticity, or (3) submits or invites reliance on any sample, specimen, map, boundary mark, or other object which he knows to be false. Perjury is also included in this offense category. Perjury is the willful telling an untruth in an official proceeding after having taken an oath or affirmation.

Family Offenses, Nonviolent

Unlawful, nonviolent acts by a family member (or legal guardian) that threaten the physical, mental, or economic well-being or morals of another family member and that are not classifiable as other offenses, such as assault, incest, statutory rape, etc. Note: this offense includes abandonment, desertion, neglect, nonsupport, nonviolent abuse, and nonviolent cruelty to other family members. It also includes the nonpayment of court-ordered alimony, as long as it is not considered to be contempt of court within the reporting jurisdiction. Do not include victims of these offenses who are taken into custody for their own protection.

Forcible Fondling

The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental of physical incapacity. Note: forcible fondling includes indecent liberties and child molesting. Because forcible fondling is an element of forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and sexual assault with an object, it should be reported only if it is the sole forcible sex offense committed against a victim.

Forcible Rape

The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Note: if force was used or threatened, the crime should be classified as forcible rape regardless of the age of the victim. If no force was used or threatened and the victim was under the statutory age of consent, the crime should be classified as statutory rape.

Forcible Sodomy

Oral or anal intercourse with another person, forcible and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental of physical incapacity.

Gambling: Betting / Wagering

To unlawfully stake money or something else of value on the happening of an uncertain event or on the ascertainment of a fact in dispute.

Gambling: Equipment Violation

To unlawfully manufacture, sell, buy, possess, or transport equipment, devices, and/or goods used for gambling purposes.

Gambling: Operating / Promoting

To unlawfully operate, promote, or assist in the operation of a game of chance, lottery, or other gambling activity.

Gambling: Sports Tampering

To unlawfully alter, meddle in, or otherwise interfere with a sporting contest or event for the purpose of gaining a gambling advantage. Note: this offense includes engaging in bribery for gambling purposes. For example, if a jockey was bribed to lose a horse race, it would be reported as sports tampering not bribery.

Gender

Male or female.

Hallucinogens

Drugs of abuse that are hallucinogens include MDMA and analogs, LSD, phencyclidine and analogs, and other hallucinogen drugs.

Hit-and-Run

Hit-and-run is the act of causing or contributing to a motor vehicle traffic accident and failing to stop and identify oneself and exchange information afterwards.

Impersonation

Falsely representing one’s identity or position and acting in the character or position thus unlawfully assumed to deceive others and thereby gain a profit or advantage, enjoy some right or privilege, or subject another person or entity to an expense, charge, or liability that would not have otherwise been incurred.

Incest

Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

Indecent Exposure

Intentional making any open and obscene exposure of his/her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm. The act of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure.

Individual Capacity

Cases are coded as individual capacity when an officer’s alleged crime was committed while he or she was off-duty and did not invoke any aspects of the officer’s status as a sworn law enforcement officer. See “official capacity.”

Intimidation

To unlawfully place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack. Intimidation includes harassment charges.

Inhalants

Drugs of abuse that are inhalants include amyl and butyl nitrates, nitrous oxide, and other inhalant drugs.

Kidnapping / Abduction

The unlawful seizure, transportation, and/or detention of a person against his/her will or of a minor without the consent of his/her custodial parent(s) or legal guardian. Note: kidnapping / abduction includes hostage-taking.

Liquor Law Violation

The violation of laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession, or use of alcoholic beverages.

Most Serious Offense Charged

The most serious offense charged was determined using the Uniform Crime Report’s (UCR) crime seriousness hierarchy (see U.S. Department of Justice, 2004). An additional eight offenses were added following an earlier pilot study (see Stinson, 2009) because police officers who were arrested often were charged with criminal offenses not included in the NIBRS (e.g., online solicitation of a child, indecent exposure, official misconduct / official oppression / violation of oath, vehicular hit-and-run, perjury / false reports / false statements, criminal deprivation of civil rights).

Motor Vehicle Theft

The theft of a motor vehicle. Note: a motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle that runs on the surface of land and not on rails and that fits in one of the following property descriptions: (1) automobiles are sedans, coupes, station wagons, convertibles, taxicabs, or other similar motor vehicles that serve the primary purpose of transporting people; (2) buses are vehicles that are specifically designed (but not necessarily used) to transport groups of people on a commercial basis; (3) recreational vehicles are motor vehicles that are specifically designed (but not necessarily used) to transport people and also provide them temporary lodging for recreational purposes; (4) trucks are motor vehicles that are specifically designed (but not necessarily used) to transport cargo, (5) other motor vehicle are any other motor vehicles, e.g., motorcycles, motor scooters, trail bikes, mopeds, snowmobiles, or golf carts.

Murder & Non-negligent Manslaughter

The willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another. Note: assault to murder and attempted murder are to be reported as aggravated assault.

Narcotics

Drugs of abuse that are narcotics include heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, codeine, and other narcotic drugs.

Negligent Manslaughter

The killing of another person through negligence. This offense does not include vehicular manslaughter which is reportable as murder and non-negligent manslaughter if not accidental or “all other offenses” if accidental.

Obstruction of Justice

Any act that is intended to interfere with the administration of justice may constitute obstruction of justice.

Officer’s Capacity during Crime

Officer’s capacity refers to whether the arrested officer was acting in his or her official capacity or individual capacity when the crime was alleged committed by the officer.

Official Capacity

Cases are coded as official capacity when an officer’s alleged crime was committed while he or she was acting under the color of state law. Most all police crime committed by an officer while on-duty is considered as having occurred in the officer’s official capacity. Numerous factors are considered in determining whether an officer’s alleged crime was committed while he or she was off-duty, including whether: (1) there was an ordinance that deemed officers on-duty 24-hours per day; (2) officer identified him or herself as a police officer: (3) officer was wearing a police uniform; (4) officer showed service weapon (e.g., pistol or revolver) or other agency lethal or less-lethal weapon; (5) officer flashed a badge; (6) officer conducted a search while off-duty; (7) officer made an arrest while off-duty; and/or (8) officer intervened in an existing dispute pursuant to agency policy. See “individual capacity.”

Official Misconduct / Official Oppression / Violation of Oath

Official misconduct is a specific criminal charge whereby a public officer acting in their official capacity engages in wrongful behavior in relation to the duties of his or her office. Note: sometimes this is also referred to as malfeasance in office (Louisiana), violation of oath, official oppression, etc.

Online Solicitation of a Child

(a) In this section: "minor" means an individual who represents himself or herself to be younger than 17 years of age; or an individual whom the actor believes to be younger than 17 years of age. "Sexual contact," "sexual intercourse," and "deviate sexual intercourse" have the usual meanings. "Sexually explicit" means any communication, language, or material, including a photographic or video image that relates to or describes sexual conduct. (b) A person who is 17 years of age or older commits an offense if, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, intentionally: (1) communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor; or (2) distributes sexually explicit material to a minor. (c) A person commits an offense if the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the actor, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the actor or another person. (d) It is not a defense to prosecution under Subsection that the meeting did not occur; the actor did not intend for the meeting to occur; or the actor was engaged in a fantasy at the time of commission of the offense. (e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that at the time conduct described by Subsection (b) or (c) was committed: (1) the actor was married to the minor; or (2) the actor was not more than three years older than the minor and the minor consented to the conduct.

Other Sex Crime

Any sex crime not meeting the definition of the specific listed sex offenses.

Peeping Tom

To secretly look through a window, doorway, keyhole, or other aperture for the purpose of voyeurism.

Pocket-Picking

The theft of articles from another person’s physical possession by stealth where the victim usually does not become immediately aware of the theft.

Police Crime

Crime committed by nonfederal sworn law enforcement officers who have the general powers of arrest (e.g., police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, etc.).

Pornography / Obscene Material

The violation of laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, publishing, sale, purchase, or possession of sexually explicit material, e.g., literature or photographs.

Property Destruction / Damage / Vandalism

To willfully or maliciously destroy, damage, deface, or otherwise injure real or personal property without the consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it. It includes the offense of criminal mischief.

Prostitution

To unlawfully engage in sexual relations for profit.

Purse-snatching

The grabbing or snatching of a purse, handbag, etc., from the physical possession of another person.

Rank

Law enforcement agencies use a variety of rank titles, and they tend to be paramilitary in structure. This research study used the following rank structure for coding cases: (1) officer, deputy, or trooper; (2) detective or investigator; (3) corporal; (4) sergeant; (5) lieutenant; (6) captain; (7) major; (8) colonel; (9) deputy chief or chief deputy; and (10) chief, sheriff, superintendent, or commissioner.

Rates

The rates on heat maps used on this website database are calculated as follows:

Rate of cases per 100,000 population:
National level: Rate = ( cases in state * 100,000 ) / ( state population )
State level: Rate = ( cases in county * 100,000 ) / ( county population )
Case rate versus total:
National level: Rate = ( cases in state ) / ( cases in nation )
State level: Rate = ( cases in county ) / ( cases in state )

Restraining Order Violation / Order of Protection Violation

Code for this offense only when an officer is charged criminally with violating a domestic order of protection.

Robbery

The taking of attempting to take anything of value under confrontational circumstances from the control, custody, or care of another person by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear of immediate harm. Note: because some type of assault is an element of the crime of robbery, and assault should not be reported as a separate crime as long as it was performed in furtherance of the robbery. However, if the injury results in death, a homicide offense must also be reported. The victims of a robbery include not only those persons and other entities (businesses, financial institutions, etc.) from whom property was taken (or was attempted to be taken), but also those persons toward whom the robber(s) directed force or threat of force in perpetrating the offense. Therefore, although the primary victim in a bank robbery would be the financial institution, the teller toward whom the robber pointed a gun and made a demand should also be reported as a victim. Carjackings are robbery offenses in which a motor vehicle is taken through force or threat of force. Report only a robbery not a motor vehicle theft.

Sex

Male or female.

Sexual Assault with an Object

To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcible or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. Note: an object or instrument is anything used by the offense other than the offender’s genitalia. Examples include but are not limited to a finger, bottle, handgun, or a stick.

Shoplifting

The theft by someone other than an employee of the victim of goods or merchandise exposed for sale.

Simple Assault

An unlawful physical attack by one person upon another where neither the offender displays a weapon, nor the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, sever laceration, or loss of consciousness. Resisting arrest is coded as assault.

Statutory Rape

Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. Note: if force was used or threatened, the offense should be classified as forcible rape not statutory rape.

Stolen Property Offenses

Receiving, buying, selling, possessing, concealing, or transporting any property with the knowledge that it has been unlawfully taken, as by burglary, embezzlement, fraud, larceny, robbery, etc.

Theft - All Other Larceny

All thefts that do not fit any of the definitions of the specific subcategories of larceny/theft listed above. Note: this subcategory includes thefts from fenced enclosures, boats, and airplanes. Thefts of animals, lawnmowers, lawn furniture, hand tools, and farm and constructions equipment are also included where no break-in of a structure was involved.

Theft from Building

A theft from within a building which is either open to the general public or to which the offender has legal access.

Theft from Coin-Operated Machine

A theft from a machine or device that is operated or activated by the use of coins.

Theft from Motor Vehicle

The theft of articles from a motor vehicle, locked or unlocked (except theft of motor vehicle parts or accessories).

Theft of Motor Vehicle Parts

The theft of any part or accessory affixed to the interior or exterior of a motor vehicle in a manner which would make the item an attachment of the vehicle or necessary for its operation.

Trespass of Real Property

To unlawfully enter land, a dwelling, or other real property.

Type of Agency (nonfederal)

Law enforcement agencies included in this research study include: (1) primary state police agencies; (2) sheriff’s offices; (3) county police departments; (4) municipal police departments; (5) special police departments (e.g., fish & game agencies, park police, school district police departments, etc.); (6) constables; (7) tribal police departments; and (8) regional police departments.

Type of Crime

Cases were coded on Stinson’s (2009) typology of police crime, which posits that most crime committed by police officers is alcohol-related, drug-related, sex-related, violence-related, and/or profit-motivated. The types of police crime are not mutually-exclusive categories. Rather, each type of police crime is coded as a dichotomous variable because crimes committed by officers often involve more than one type of police crime. In a case where an officer was arrested and charged with the forcible rape of a female motorist during a traffic stop, for example, the case would be coded in this study as both sex-related and violence-related.

Victim’s Relationship to the Offender

The relationship of the victim to the arrested officer is coded in this research study as (1) victim is current spouse of offender, (2) victim is former spouse of offender; (3) victim is current boyfriend/girlfriend of offender; (4) victim is former boyfriend/girlfriend of offender; (5) victim is child or step-child of offender, (6) victim is other relative of offender; (7) victim is an unrelated child, or (8) victim is a stranger. Note: the category of “stranger” is actually stranger or acquaintance. If a victim’s relationship does not fit into any of the first seven categories, then it is coded as stranger or acquaintance.

Weapons Law Violation

The violation of laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession, concealment, or use of firearms, cutting instruments, explosives, incendiary devices, or other deadly weapons.

Welfare Fraud

The use of deceitful statements, practices, or devices to unlawfully obtain welfare benefits.

Wire Fraud

The use of an electric or electronic communications facility to intentionally transmit a false and/or deceptive message in furtherance of a fraudulent activity.

Years of Service

Years of service is coded as the number of years of service that the offender has completed as of the date of his or her arrest.