FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton is a 33-year law enforcement veteran, a trainer, and the national spokesman for The American Council on Public Safety. He served 10 years with the Princeton (N.J.) Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He is an author who has published multiple books on law enforcement.

Legally Defensible Training Records

Ask The Expert

Ari Vidali

CEO and Founder of Envisage Technologies

January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
September 2016 (1)
June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)
Patrol

Los Angeles Police Commission Tells Officers to Run Away, or Else

The message the Los Angeles Police Commission is sending to officers confronted with a violent and dangerous suspect is clear: You can save your life or save your job, but you cannot do both.

September 22, 2016  |  by Los Angeles Police Protective League

Run away. If a police officer is confronted by a suspect with a weapon, those entrusted to set policies for the Police Department believe officers should run away. That’s the recent finding from the Los Angeles Police Commission which has turned Monday morning quarterbacking into a weekly agenda item at the three-ring circus they preside over every Tuesday morning.

In the Commission’s most recent decision on an officer-involved shooting, in which a suspect charged at two officers swinging an 8 to 9-inch knife, they faulted the officer for not “redeploying” to “create distance.” In plain English: the officer didn’t run away.

The key facts in this case are not in dispute. A female suspect, armed with an 8 to 9-inch knife, charged at officers, repeatedly ignored commands to stop, and was recorded yelling “shoot me” as she swung her knife from side to side.

The armed suspect quickly closed the gap between her knife and the police officers from 70 feet to less than 5 feet in under 10 seconds. That is when the first officer discharged his service weapon. The second officer involved had only three seconds to respond to the imminent threat. Even the Commission stated that “It was reasonable for Officer C to believe, in the moment when the use of force occurred, that the subject would imminently assault him with the knife.”

So where’s the beef?

The officers didn’t run away. The Commission, armed with video and their own political agenda broke down the footage frame by frame to determine that in the course of seconds, the first officer whose “position initially provided Officer C with a position of tactical advantage” lost the advantage as the suspect charged him. They wrote, “this advantage rapidly diminished as the Subject continued her advance, leaving him with neither distance nor effective cover as the Subject approached the space between two parked vehicles by which Officer C was located.”

Suspect charging from the front. Vehicles on either side. Where do you “redeploy?” Run backwards. This is absurd and it’s dangerous. What happens if the officer loses his footing with a charging suspect? What happens if the suspect runs into a nearby home or store and confronts its occupants with her weapon? What if the suspect also had a concealed gun? What is created when an officer turns tail and runs away is a large target. It’s called a back. The officer would put their lives in further jeopardy by running away if the suspect had a gun. At this close range, running away would create a self-caused danger to the officers and the public.

Chief Beck, who has absolutely no problem finding fault with officers, agreed with these officers’ actions. The Commission, with a grand total of zero years of experience in law enforcement, overruled the Chief’s decision. The Commissioners created an alternative set of facts that acknowledged that the officer was right to believe his life was in jeopardy but found fault with the officer shooting the knife-wielding suspect because the officer should have run away. Pathetic.

It sure must be easy to talk about “redeploying” an officer’s position while sipping a Diet Coke or bottled water while sitting in a police-guarded, air-conditioned room, in a cushy office chair, watching the events unfold in slow motion on a big-screen TV.

But that’s not reality. The Commission is becoming nothing more than a politically motivated rubber stamp for the warped worldview of a handful of activists that they pander to. In this instance, only Commissioner Steve Soboroff was willing to let facts and reason prevail.

The message the Los Angeles Police Commission is sending to officers confronted with a violent and dangerous suspect is clear: You can save your life or save your job, but you cannot do both. You choose.


Comments (35)

Displaying 1 - 35 of 35

Morg @ 9/22/2016 4:01 PM

What a damn joke. Put those commission members in uniform and on the street, they would be the only cops running away because real sheepdogs get the job done. If they don't want cops confronting violent criminals then have them do like firemen; hang out at the station, wait for a call to come in then go take the report, nevermind about trying to catch the criminal. I'm sure the good tax paying public would love that type of police response when they need help, I guess the jails would be pretty empty too.

kevcopAz @ 9/22/2016 4:18 PM

Deos not this idiot commission realize that they are setting up the city for a huge loss in a civil suit? This was a righteous shoot and they say something like this? Perhaps I may be too judgmental, if the LA PD Commission says the cops should run away when confronted with violence and the MA supreme court says its OK and reasonable for B/Ms to run away from police for fear of violence then they might have a solution to all violence! Cops run one way and the B/Ms (most % of criminals) run the other then nobody will ever be hurt. What a grand scheme!

Ok then @ 9/22/2016 5:03 PM

Run away? That is what they want the LAPD to do? Being a rather spiteful person from time to time, I hope they do and their city decends into chaos. I would love to see the commission dance out of that jackpot.

Mark @ 9/22/2016 5:22 PM

With these rulings, why even be a cop anymore? At this point with everything going on, who the hell would even want to be a cop and deal with all this BS? Not sure it's worth it anymore. I am thinking about applying to an analyst job and just stay inside the office.

Hoshi @ 9/22/2016 7:39 PM

Re:Morg, I take exception to your comment concerning firemen. I was a California cop for 32 years and have the scars and missing teeth to show for it. I am now a Lieutenant with the East Lake Buchanan Volunteer Fire Dept. 79 percent of Americas Fire Fighters are volunteers. When the pager goes off we drop whatever we are doing and respond. We are on call 24/7. I've left parties, grocery shopping, church, etc. We do everything the paid departments do without the pay. We have 16 members covering 79 square miles of rural Texas. If you're in the area stop by for some outstanding barbecued brisket.

Tom Ret @ 9/22/2016 8:01 PM

As Mark says if this ruling stands it is not worth doing the job.

169 @ 9/22/2016 9:02 PM

Time for about a million of us to run away. Something goes bump in the night call your BLM rep and they can handle it.

Safe but Sane @ 9/23/2016 1:45 AM

I don't agree with the commission but I do have a common sense answer that's being over looked . Common sense and some situations as in this case with a women charging starting 70' away, most trained officers should have little problem keeping the knife out of play by drawing their billy club unless it's an exceptionally long blade or sword. They should be able to easily disarm her and save her life. She may be mentally challenged, homeless, suicidal, intoxicated, drugged or having a mental breakdown. In which case I don't see why a billy club wouldn't be the better choice by a well trained officer who could use their firearm or taser as a backup. A broken arm seems easier for the officer to live with than a live that may have easily been saved. I know some will want 100% no chance of getting hurt but that's what the commission should have outlined. Just my thoughts. I'm sure that protocol may be to shoot them but that seems heartless in some cases.

notmeofficer @ 9/23/2016 3:45 AM

@safe but sane

You've got to be kidding...and so out of touch

The woman made the decision to engage in a violent confrontation to end her life. She leaves a wake of destruction in her path...two officers who have to live with it. And who knows who else

We don't use Billy clubs.we don't carry Billy clubs..we haven't used Billy clubs for thirty years.. we use flashlights...pr 24 or asps.. And we don't knock edged weapons out of people's hands as sen in the movies... Please try that sometime and see how that works. I guarantee I can stab you Everytime while you're swinging away

If you want to speak up about use of force..please..try to do a modicum of research on the use of force continuum and how it works.

Force must be legally..reasonable ,necessary ,and fully justified by the circumstances... It absolutely was in this case.

Knives...kill as easily as any other weapon.

What a travesty LAPD has to put up with...sadly LASD isn't far behind....

The world is updmdide down...

Time for Star wars phasers and robots as police..
Until then we deal with the real world..the world full of deranged psychotic mentally ill emotionally unstable human beings

Panamarasta @ 9/23/2016 4:25 AM

@Safe but sane Ok, with your comment I can see that you're not nor have ever been Law Enforcement. I felt the same way you did when I went through the Academy years ago and had it explained to me why a baton, pepper spray, shoot in the leg etc wouldn't be used in this situation. I was hard headed and several years later I learned the same lesson the hard way. Almost cost me my life. Go talk to a cop or do a ride along sometime. I think you'll be enlightened. All the best to you my friend.

1marine @ 9/23/2016 7:21 AM

@safe but sane Use a night stick??? You apparently have no time on the street. Whatever happened to being able to use one level of force above what the perpetrator is attacking with? She was using deadly force and you want to pussy-foot around with a night stick? These commissioners are out of their minds.

Tom Ret @ 9/23/2016 7:27 AM

Safe but sane- Why don't you join a police reserve force and put your theory
to the test.

LEO (RET) @ 9/23/2016 7:56 AM

Wow!!! I had to read this twice just to make sure I was reading it correctly, instead of reading an article from Bizarro Land. This is absolutely ludicrous. I'm speechless. In my 38 year career with two agencies, if any officer would have turned and ran away from a deadly force threat, they would have been written up for Cowardice, then probably dismissed from service, or at the very least, their reputation would've been ruined and no other officers would ever want them to be their partner. I'm so sorry for the officers over there. Good luck Blue and stay safe.

tom @ 9/23/2016 8:15 AM

STUPID !!!! That's right this is just plain stupid, and we all know you can't fix stupid. So who is the idiot/s that put these people in this position in the first place. If they were elected, they should be recalled and if they were appointed they should be removed. This is the kind of dangerous PC crap that I expect from the left coast. Keep it there, because we have enough problems to contend with in the mid west, without more stupidity. Thanks

logic3 @ 9/23/2016 9:37 AM

As long as the police share the same duty to retreat (or not) as the other citizens in their jurisdictions this is fine with me. If the citizen must retreat, so must the LEO, if the citizen is in the right to stand their ground, so may the LEO. Simple.

Tom Gresham @ 9/23/2016 11:16 AM

Thank God I am retired from Law Enforcement and thank God I live in TEXAS, where liberal a$$hole$ are NOT IN CHARGE...Why is it so hard to understand: Don't pull a weapon on a LEO and don't attack a LEO...MOST Officers I know and have known have treated civilians with as much if not more respect than a lot deserved...I have only known a handful of bad apples who went looking for trouble...Most just wanted to get home after the shift was over...And I was one of them...fight me I fight back...try to kill me and I get to go before the Shooting Board...YOU CAN NOT BE EFFECTIVE WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING AWAY...

BT @ 9/23/2016 11:36 AM

Something tells me L.A. is going to have a big shortage of cops
in the near future. I sure as hell wouldn't want to be on a department
that has commission rulings like that. "What a joke" doesn't even
come close to describing this ruling. I think many will consider joining another department in the L.A. metro area.

John Moravecek @ 9/23/2016 12:42 PM

Fuck the Commisioners!
Police don't run away

tedb @ 9/23/2016 3:17 PM

John M: How do you REALLY feel? Safe But Sane: I bet that, when watching those old Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy movies, you really do believe that they shot the guns out of the bad guys hands while at full gallop on a horse from 50 yards away, didn't you?

LEO (RET) @ 9/23/2016 4:04 PM

tedb, loved your analogy. I also loved Roy Rogers. Thanks for sharing. John M, you rock.

Patrick Youells @ 9/23/2016 8:05 PM

Whoever is on this commision are fools. They have no idea how to police nor do they understand the criminal mind. Police do not run away. They stay and fight.
I feel sorry for the brothers and sisters in blue in Los Angeles.

BT @ 9/23/2016 9:15 PM

Safe but sane, I think you put too much emphasis on your nick name of
"safe". Run away my friend, run away! A true cop does not "run away" from danger. They confront it. If all your worried about is being "safe" you should be a school crossing-walk monitor. Then you don't have to be trained in the use of force continuum (which obviously your not). I hope your not an actual LEO, because I'd certainly not want a school crossing guard as my back-up.

Ryan S. @ 9/24/2016 2:38 PM

Obviously the commission isnt aware of PC 835a, police are never considered the aggressor nor do they need to retreat when effecting an arrest! Idiots who have never worn the uniform nor do they know the law much less respect it.

Patrick Braddock @ 9/25/2016 2:15 AM

Im pretty sure in Europe the police are fully capable of handling someone armed with only a knife without deadly force... Say what you want about hypothetical threats from a nonexistent gun, the commission is absolutely right....

David G. Bolgiano @ 9/25/2016 5:46 PM

As so eloquently pointed out by the authors of In Defense of Self and Others on this subject:

Law enforcement officers are not trained to take no action to protect themselves and others. To the contrary, they are trained that they have a duty to protect themselves and others. In balancing the concept of “no action” against the concept of a “duty to perform”, we must remember that law enforcement officers are trained and practiced to protect themselves and the public. They are expected to be proactive in the pursuit of their duty. “… Employing deadly force is permissible when there is no safe alternative to using such force, and without it the officer or others would face imminent and grave danger. An officer is not required to place him or herself, another officer, a suspect, or the public in unreasonable danger of death or serious physical injury before using deadly force.”

Sammy7777 @ 9/25/2016 7:03 PM

This has to be a joke. Did the Onion write this piece?

Mitamoto Musashi @ 9/26/2016 12:10 PM

WTF kind of morons get on this LAPD commission. And Patrick you are a double moron. Most Euro police are now armed due to the numbers of idiots like you!🇨🇦👮🏻

Kachonka @ 9/26/2016 2:52 PM

Anytime they say 'SUSPECT' and do not release the race, we already know.

beenaroundtheworld @ 9/29/2016 2:13 AM

Patrick Braddock, I have lived in Europe (Germany) and I can guarantee you they have a way to handle someone with a knife.....extremely violent force!!! Why do all liberal Americans think that Europeans are so hug a thug? I can tell you from personal experience that yes, the Germans are very liberal....to a point. They do not have a lot of "crimes against the state" so to speak but I can attest that when they make a law they mean to enforce it. When Polizei show up there are only two classes of people, those running away and those that are part of the problem. I have seen what happens to those that are part of the problem and liberal left wants want no part of these "liberal Europeans" when they arrive. The Polizei meet resistance with overwhelming force and the problem ends quickly. I loved living in Germany because there was order and you knew the consequences if you broke the law or caused a disturbance. Ever wonder why you never see riots with 50,000 drunk Germans at Oktoberfest?

tictac @ 10/1/2016 9:40 PM

Police could easily deescalate without running away and without shooting anyone, against a female who obviously was just suicidal.

But, police want any excuse to shoot people, which is why she ended up as target practice for fun instead of in a straightjacket.

Wedgey 1 @ 10/7/2016 12:54 PM

There are plenty of books out there that show the aftermath of knife attacks on people who thought they could handle their attacker. The pictures are not hard to find. I remember a the pictures of a cop who attempted to subdue a knife attacker. Did not end well for him. Our current police commission, and apparently our chief believe that the few hours of hand to hand self defense training are more than enough to prepare for these attacks. It would be nice to show our commissioners some of the availble pictures. So glad to be retired.

Eddie Pereira @ 10/12/2016 3:23 PM

I also thank God I live in Texas where liberals are not in control of everything and destroying the American way of life. It sickens me to hear and watch all these so called police use of force experts talk about what the officer(s) should of or could of done to prevent the incident. 99.9 percent of these so called high pro filed incidents would have NEVER happened if the suspects, perps, poor minority victim, or whatever p.c. bullshit the media calls them had done just one thing! COMPLY WITH LEGAL ORDERS !!!! Live to tell another day and file your complaint later. Officers live under a microscope. If wrongdoing occurred believe me there is not an agency in America in this day and age that would cover up the incident.

Robert Wagner @ 10/18/2016 4:19 PM

My Sgt said it best. Don't be talking, when you should be shooting!

Michael @ 11/17/2016 1:31 AM

A mockery and insult to the job, and to those that do their duty for the public. That thin blue line stands between citizens and anarchy. Officers regularly talk their way out of trouble, and they use other options to subdue violent offenders. But when defending the public and themselves, lethal force is sometimes necessary. Time to give LE the support and backing they need to do their jobs, often with seconds to make their decisions, because if LE can't or isn't allowed to subdue violent offenders, then who is ? Run away and allow the perp to kill or maim some other innocent ? Don't think so. Let them do their jobs and give them the backing, or you will lose your city. You are telling criminals to arm themselves and confront the Police, who are obliged to run away. Is that the message you really want to send out ?

Bill @ 12/21/2016 6:13 PM

So, who's responsible when the Cops "run away" and the Suspect kills an innocent civilian? Is this Commission going to be held liable?

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

SHOT Show 2017: First Impressions from Range Day
Industry Day at the Range has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception last decade....

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine