The L.A. County Sheriff's Department has changed its policy to essentially ban sheriff's deputies from shooting at moving vehicles unless another deadly weapon is present.
Law enforcement agencies from across the country have restricted shooting at vehicles, including another major agency in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Police Department. Leaders point to safety issues: if the driver is disabled, a two-ton car can careen into innocent bystanders.
“There was a concern about the number of shootings at moving vehicles we were having," Assistant Sheriff Todd Rodgers told KPCC.
The policy rewrite, which went into effect August 4, states "firearms shall not be discharged at a stationary or moving vehicle" or its occupants unless deputies are being threatened with a gun or some other "deadly force by means other than the moving vehicle."
The previous policy stated that fear would not "presumptively" justify a shooting.
“This is more descriptive and specific,” said Rogers. “We are trying to impress upon deputies that it's generally ineffective to shoot at a moving vehicle."
The department also published a new training video for deputies that describes the new policy and why it’s not a good idea to shoot at moving cars. Any departure from policy will be reviewed on an individual basis, Rogers said.