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.