Author ORCID Identifier

Thaddeus L. Johnson:

Natasha N. Johnson:

William J. Sabol:

David T. Snively:

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This study examines the effects of agency education requirements on racial differences in police-related fatalities (PRFs) across 235 large U.S. cities between 2000 and 2016. We estimated Poisson pseudo-maximum likelihood (PPML) regression models with multiple fixed effects using data from the Fatal Encounters database, Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey, and other publicly available databases. Results show that adopting agency college degree requirements is generally associated with decreases in PRFs over time, with significant reductions observed for PRFs of Black citizens. Our study suggests mandating at least an associate’s degree for entry-level officers should equate to lower rates of Black people killed by police actions and more balance in the racial distribution of PRFs. Police leaders and local governments should consider these findings when crafting policies to protect against fatal police-citizen encounters.


This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at


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Supplemental Materials