Stops, searches, and arrests are some of the most common types of encounters that the public has with law enforcement. Each encounter also presents the opportunity for an adverse outcome, up to and including harm to officers and community members. Law enforcement agencies must ensure that all stops, searches, and arrests are made by the rights secured or protected by the US Constitution, specifically the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, along with state and federal laws.

Ensuring stops, searches, and arrests are lawful and appropriate can help foster community trust and law enforcement legitimacy and promote a shared responsibility for addressing crime and disorder and other public safety priorities.

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Resources Related to Stops, Searches, and Arrests

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  • Reset

Research Brief | 2022

Body-Worn Cameras, Lawful Police Stops, and NYPD Officer Compliance

  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests

Guidebook/Tool, Report, Research Brief | 2022

Vehicle Stoppage and Pursuit Management for Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Community Trust and Partnerships
  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests

Research Brief | 2022

Research Brief: In-depth Training of Police Officers Results in Less Crime, Fewer Arrests, and Improved Community Views Towards Police in Crime Hot Spots

  • Crime and Violence Response
  • Community Trust and Partnerships
  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests

Guidebook/Tool, Report | 2021

Evidence-Based Crime Reduction Strategies for Small, Rural, and Tribal Agencies

  • Crime and Violence Response
  • Community Trust and Partnerships
  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests

Guidebook/Tool | 2021

Assessing the Impact of Crisis Intervention Teams: A Review of Research

  • Community Trust and Partnerships
  • Mental Health and Crisis Response
  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests
  • Use of Force

Guidebook/Tool | 2021

Evidence-Based Crime Reduction Strategies for Small, Rural, and Tribal Agencies

  • Crime and Violence Response

Other | 2021

Why Police Need to Enforce Traffic Laws

  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests

Research Brief | 2021

Racial Disparities in Law Enforcement Stops

  • Stops, Searches, and Arrests
  • Use of Force

Recommendations from Civil Rights Litigations

Explore the modules below to learn how Civil Rights Litigation has touched upon arrests, searches & seizures, and investigatory stops & detentions. The information provided within these modules has been gathered from various consent decrees, settlement agreements, and assistance letters. The modules are intended to support agencies in improving their Constitutional policing practices. Additional information and resources may be needed to implement the recommendations successfully. To learn more about civil rights litigation, visit the Knowledge Lab's Federal Interventions Dashboard.

Making Arrests

Searches & Seizures

Investigatory Stops & Detentions

The information provided within these modules has been gathered from various sources, including consent decrees, research, and practitioner and department-developed resources. These webpage modules are intended to be a guide for departments to use to improve their Constitutional policing practices. Additional information and resources may be needed to implement the recommendations successfully. This resource is intended to be dynamic, and the Knowledge Lab will continue to update and add to these modules to provide additional and current guidance for departments.

Empowering Law Enforcement Excellence

A Beacon of Guidance at the National Law Enforcement Knowledge Lab

Explore targeted areas such as evidence-based de-escalation, responses to mental illness, lawful procedures, and fostering just, fair, and impartial police practices. Elevate your agency's performance and legitimacy with our guidance and support.