Author ORCID Identifier

Thaddeus L. Johnson:

Natasha N. Johnson:

William J. Sabol:

Megan A. Hartman:

David T. Snively:

Document Type


Publication Date



This study examines the interaction effects of police collective bargaining authorization and police pay on racial differences in police-related fatalities. Using data from Fatal Encounters, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and other publicly available databases, we applied entropy-weighted regressions to a balanced panel of 282 local police departments from 2000 to 2013 in the United States. We found that collective bargaining authorization is not directly associated with police-caused deaths. However, results indicate that higher median salaries for city police officers directly and meaningfully contribute to fewer people killed by police actions. When considering interactive effects, our findings suggest that police unionization offsets the life-saving benefits of higher relative pay, leading to more Black citizens dying from police intervention as salaries increase in agencies with collective bargaining authorization. Our findings demonstrate authorities should consider the potentially fatal and inequitable consequences for citizens during collective bargaining and salary-setting negotiations.


Originally published in Johnson, T. L., Johnson, N. N., Sabol, W. J., Hartman, M. A., & Snively, D. T. (2024). Collective bargaining, police pay, and racial differences in police lethality rates. Police Practice and Research, 1–26.