Study: 'Ferguson Effect' has officers shying away from force

A new nationwide survey shows that more police officers are shying away from using force on the job, even when it is necessary.

The 2014 white officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown -- a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri -- put the national spotlight on police use-of-force and officers' interactions with minorities.

Since then, there's been talk of the so-called "Ferguson Effect," where officers are backing off of policing out of fear that their actions will be questioned after the fact.

The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, suggests the effect is a reality, with more than three-quarters of the 8,000 officers surveyed saying they are reluctant to use force, even when appropriate, and are less willing to stop and question suspicious people.

The study also revealed that 93 percent of respondents said they are more concerned about safety and about carrying out some of the everyday acts of policing.

Long Island residents who spoke with News 12 say they can see why police are concerned about greater scrutiny.

"I have a lot of friends that are cops and it's definitely not an easy task," says Seth Feld, of Westbury.

Nassau PBA President James Carver says they address the officers' concerns by telling them that the public will support them as long as they follow their training.

A Suffolk police spokesman says county officers use their service weapons only as their last option, and the officers rely on their training to effectively perform their jobs. The spokesman adds that the new administration is putting a Taser in the hand of every officer.

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