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## How should police departments address excessive use of force?

How should police departments address excessive use of force? A number of high-profile cases have painted a disturbing picture of how police officers treat the people they’re supposed to keep safe.

In this lesson, students compare the distributions of excessive force of two police departments and explore how the shape of the distribution affects the effectiveness of different solution attempts.

### REAL WORLD TAKEAWAYS

• The shape and distribution of data informs the appropriateness and effectiveness of a policy meant to change that data.
• A 1991 study of the Los Angeles Police Department found that the department’s complaints of excessive force were not normally distributed; instead, the vast majority of officers received no complaints or very few, and a small number of officers were responsible for the vast majority of complaints.
• Effective policy solutions won’t necessarily be palatable or feel fair to society.

### MATH OBJECTIVES

• Given a graphical display of univariate data, use the mean, median, and mode to describe the “typical” case
• Analyze and interpret graphical displays of univariate data to answer multi-step problems
• Compare a normal vs. power law distribution, and understand how the shape of a distribution affects real-world policy

Great anytime, including at the beginning of a unit before students have any formal introduction to the topic.
Algebra 1
One-Variable Statistics
Algebra 1
One-Variable Statistics
Content Standards
Mathematical Practices