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LAPD Policy Needs to Further Limit Deadly Force, Commissioners Say

March 11, 2016  | 

Two Los Angeles police commissioners called Friday for significant changes in the LAPD's rules on when officers can use deadly force and recommended that the department specifically evaluate whether officers could have done more to defuse tense encounters, reports the L.A. Times.

In a report released Friday, the commissioners proposed revamping the LAPD’s policy to further emphasize that officers should seek ways to avoid using significant force whenever possible, part of the commission’s ongoing effort to reduce the number of police shootings and other serious incidents.

If approved, the proposals could have a far-reaching impact on how the five-member Police Commission determines whether officers were justified in using deadly force. By including specific language about so-called de-escalation strategies in department policy, both the police chief and commissioners would have to specifically consider whether officers could have tried to avoid using deadly force before doing so.

The recommendations build on de-escalation training that was rolled out department-wide in recent months amid a heated national conversation about how and when officers use force, particularly against African Americans.

The proposed changes stem from a 22-page analysis by Inspector General Alex Bustamante that evaluated how LAPD policies and training related to the use of force changed over the last decade. Commission President Matt Johnson and Commissioner Robert Saltzman outlined a dozen recommendations based on Bustamante’s review.

The commissioners’ role in creating the recommendations is the latest indicator of the panel’s increasingly hands-on approach to overseeing the 10,000-officer LAPD. All five commissioners will discuss the report at their weekly meeting on Tuesday, where a majority vote would put the proposed changes into effect.


Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

CB @ 3/12/2016 9:29 AM

Are any of these know-it-all geniuses going to test their theories or policies first? Probably never wore a uniform. Ever wonder if people who are not doctors come in and tell them how to perform medical procedures? Godspeed LAPD brothers and sisters, you are 10,000 strong, sound off! Follow NYPD's lead! Silent majority has to be heard! SHUT IT DOWN!

Retired NY Boss @ 3/12/2016 10:41 AM

Every time I read articles like this I say thanks that I'm retired and don't have to deal with the politically correct BS anymore.

Tom Ret @ 3/12/2016 11:03 AM

This will only make it harder to recruit new officers or retain police veterans who can see the new expectations have little to no regard for their safety . No doubt the commissioners have no police experience and likely never put their lives on the line for any reason. At the same time, they don't have a problem with second guessing officer's actions as they judge whether the officer used enough de-escalation methods. The officers who do stay may take a minimum risk attitude and do only that which gets them by.

Rede2hike @ 3/12/2016 2:50 PM

So, why are afro American less dangerous than all the other races?
I believe, after 27 years putting my life on the line for the ungrateful idiots that that every race has the ability to cause serious bodily injury & to kill. Why are we setting aside black Americans and making the rules different for them?
If you don't want to see my smiling face in your mirror, DON'T BREAK THE LAW!
Lets make this easy for everyone, let's revoke all laws & ordinances for a 30 day trial period across America and all police have 30 days paid vacation & let's watch what happens...
This country is being flushed by a bunch of whining, hand wringing IDIOTS.
Hod, I'm afraid for America.

Robert singer @ 3/13/2016 8:01 AM

As a 31 year police vet. I believe Brilliant LA commissioner should outlaw deadly force altogether. Take it away as an option. This way hero cops go home every night. And when public begs for more protection and civilians get tired of burying their loved ones maybe they will elect police commissioners with 1/2 a brain. And the police will be allowed to protect society without the threat of spending the rest of their lives in prison just in case they happen to make a good faith mistake in judgement. We are all human and on occasion a mistake can be made. With millions and millions of police civilian contacts being made without incident on occasion a mistake will be made, these left leaning morons then use this to propose all cops are evil and racist. Hog wash. If people want to feel safe in their homes they must use common sense and protect their well meaning heroic police from hate monger so.

Robert singer @ 3/13/2016 8:01 AM

As a 31 year police vet. I believe Brilliant LA commissioner should outlaw deadly force altogether. Take it away as an option. This way hero cops go home every night. And when public begs for more protection and civilians get tired of burying their loved ones maybe they will elect police commissioners with 1/2 a brain. And the police will be allowed to protect society without the threat of spending the rest of their lives in prison just in case they happen to make a good faith mistake in judgement. We are all human and on occasion a mistake can be made. With millions and millions of police civilian contacts being made without incident on occasion a mistake will be made, these left leaning morons then use this to propose all cops are evil and racist. Hog wash. If people want to feel safe in their homes they must use common sense and protect their well meaning heroic police from hate monger so.

Deputy JJG @ 3/13/2016 8:31 AM

I have been a licensed Texas Peace Officer since 1980 (Still Working 12 Hr. Shifts at age 67) and every time I read something like this, I thank God I work in Texas. Good luck LAPD, you definitely need it. JJG

Robert @ 3/13/2016 7:05 PM

Typical response from this board ....the LEO today know everything , and everything is perfect...no need to change. Guess what...they are correct; in their world everything is fine ( police are not held accountable, taxpayers will pay the bill, people will die who don't need to) no change is needed in their world.
However for those who don't live in that world changes is drastically needed.
How about we see what the proposal are, how the training is working...and the critics can complain.

Lt Roy Smith LASD @ 3/13/2016 7:21 PM

The commissioners failed to acknowledge that LAPD did a lot to disfuse tensions after the Rodney King verdicts. They pulled out of those violent areas and then the brothers looted, burned and assaulted any light colored face they could find. Soon we will all be using squirt guns.

Leonard @ 3/13/2016 7:30 PM

When 1/3 of police shootings in LA last year involved the mentally ill, you're darn straight there's a problem. The LAPD need to be restrained....again

plato's playdough @ 3/14/2016 12:23 AM

http://www.policemag.com/channel/weapons/articles/2016/03/web-exclusive-a-new-approach-to-firearms-training.aspx?utm_campaign=OnTarget-Saturday-New-20160312&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

Text selection: Many departments though, have a hard time getting their officers past the basics of shooting taught in the academy. “Criminals are getting smarter, faster and more deadly than ever before. Our training must give our officers the advantage on the street today,” says Sgt. James “Mike” Smith, president of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Training Officers Association and a trainer with the Monroe (NC) Police Department.

Ernst says there are a lot of current firearms training techniques that actually slow down an officer’s speed. “Anytime you are working against the natural parameters of how the brain functions sequentially or how the body is designed to move mechanically, an officer’s performance and speed will suffer tremendously,” he explains.

Cognitive Dissonance moment.

Leonard @ 3/14/2016 11:48 AM

@Plato: I guess you're trying to push the old "super predator" narrative again. Criminals are bigger, stronger, faster, and armed better than police. All of which are claims that are highly suspect. The public isn't going down that alarmist path again.

HRPufnstuf @ 3/14/2016 2:21 PM

What is a "de-escalation technique" against a perp who has already decided he isn't going to jail, no way, no how? And he has already decided that he will stop at nothing, including killing a cop or anyone else, who tries to keep him from getting away?

Chief 800 @ 3/15/2016 5:30 AM

We should wait for the results of the commission. Its probably something really smart, like we dress like clowns and do magic tricks and make balloon animals to deescalate. Noone shoots clowns. Our firearms could shoot out funny flowers and we would all just have a good laugh at the end of it all. We could also have a short little quiz to make sure that the person that just assaulted or killed people wasn't mentally ill. If they were then we immediately diagnose their illness and give them the appropriate medicine they need after all we are police we were trained to do and know everything........

OK then @ 3/20/2016 4:10 PM

I can see it now, "Um, excuse me sir can you stop shooting so we can discuss the error of your ways?"

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/29/2016 1:19 PM

Leonard, its true that about a third of Police shootings involve the mentally ill. But some mental cases are extremely dangerous. You say that they don't understand what they're doing? Maybe. In any case if some guys trying to kill you, your first thoughts are to defend yourself, not to ask the guy if he's insane so you can defend yourself or not. An insane person can pull a trigger just as well as you can. Oops, I forgot, you are insane.

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