LAPD

LAPD Commissioners Push for De-escalation Training. Naturally, Police Union Pushes Back

Union president calls clarified rules on use of force a "a no-win situation for the officer."

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The LAPD Police Commission, a civilian review board

LAPD De-escalation
Wikimedia

that works with the Chief of Police to oversee the department and help set policy, voted unanimously yesterday to implement new "use-of-force policies that emphasize de-escalation and the use of minimal force in encounters with the public."

The proposed rules were born out of a two-year effort to examine how departmental policy and officer training changed over the past ten years. In 2014, Inspector General Alexander Bustamante released a 22-page report on the LAPD's Categorical Use of Force Policy, which led to the Police Commission's release of a subsequent report last week that included 12 specific recommendations to changes in policy

Some of the proposed changes include:

-Only using deadly force when "reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or appear impracticable."

-Officers are expected to "redeploy to a position of tactical advantage when faced with a threat, whenever such redeployment can be reasonably accomplished in a manner consistent with officer and public-safety."

-Officers assigned to units that patrol places like L.A.'s notorious Skid Row, will be required to undergo "specialized training prior to engaging in any enforcement action with the mental health or homeless community."

That last recommendation is particularly relevant in light of a recent report from the Ruderman Family Foundation indicating nearly a third of all people who die at the hands of law enforcement are afflicted by a disability.

LAPD Use of Force guidelines
LAPD Police Commission

At Tuesday's hearing, Commission Chairman Matthew Johnson said, "There are unfortunately incidents where an officer simply does not have the time necessary to de-escalate a situation; sometimes the threat is too immediate, the potential injury to others or the officer is too great," but Johnson added, "When there is time, we should never take a life when we have the option of resolving the situation without doing so."

According to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, de-escalation training has been increasingly prioritized over the past few years but that the Commission's new mandate "makes it a point of discussion in the deliberations and in the investigations of use of force." Beck added the department wants "smart cops" with the ability to "think critically" and that he didn't see anything in the proposed policies that the union couldn't "buy-in" to with "the right discussion and the right folks at the table."

Beck may be engaging in willful thinking, as both the president and director of the LAPD's union, the Police Protective League, have already come out against the changes. Union Director James McBride told the Commission that if an officer were killed because he/she hesitated as a result of a new use-of-force policy "there will be blood on your hands."

Union President Craig Lally, once named a "problem officer" in a blue-ribbon panel's report on "the problem of excessive force in the LAPD" following the 1991 beating of Rodney King, said the new policies create a "no-win situation for the officer."

Lally added that if faced with a potentially violent situation, "The best way to de-escalate is to run away:"

The officers should just arrive there, look at the situation, see a gun or a knife and say, 'You know what, I'm going to get blamed if I shoot.'

Whether it's totally justified or not, they're going to get reamed, they're going to get second-guessed.

Pushing back on any reforms, even ones endorsed by their own police chiefs, is standard operating procedure for police unions. Maryland's Fraternal Order of Police recently rejected outright the proposals of a state commission charged with improving community-police relations following the death of Freddie Gray, who died after his spine was severed during a rough ride in the back of police van, and the social unrest that followed.

Police unions present a particularly difficult quandry when it comes to reform, because Democrats are loathe to be seen as inhibiting the power of public sector unions and Republicans have leaned on a "tough on crime" posture for decades. 

The upside is that a number of large American cities have already begun to de-emphasize military-style techniques to policing, helping officers to learn to see themselves as "guardians" of the public rather than "warriors" in an occupied country.

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  1. Police unions present a particularly difficult quandry when it comes to reform, because Democrats are loathe to be seen as inhibiting the power of public sector unions and Republicans have leaned on a “tough on crime” posture for decades

    Thats a super-generous assessment, avoiding the part how they’re also the keepers of the (political) castle.

  2. I’m beginning to think we have more of a union problem than an officer problem.

    1. We need to have a meeting of the five families.

      1. But we haven’t even gone to the mattresses yet!

        1. Sorry, you go get them back from the SJWs. I’m not dealing with those crazy people.

          1. Oh no, we want clean, unspoiled mattresses. We’ll just buy them new from China or something.

    2. There is no difference between police officers and police unions. Part of the identity of being a police officer is tied to being a FOP member.

  3. The officers should just arrive there, look at the situation, see a gun or a knife and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to get blamed if I shoot.’

    Whether it’s totally justified or not, they’re going to get reamed, they’re going to get second-guessed.

    The assumption that cops shouldn’t be second-guessed when they shoot someone down in the street is what we call Privilege.

    1. Sadly, that word has had all its power sucked out of it through over-use by morons.

    2. It’s weird that Officer Lally also thinks his patrolmen are so dumb and fearful that when someone points a gun at them, they’re going to say “Gee, I dunno if I should really shoot”.

      (I mean, obviously that is not the covert meaning; the covert meaning is “Nobody gets to tell us what to do!” But it’s weird that he chose to put it in a way that makes patrolmen sound like idiots.)

      1. “But it’s weird that he chose to put it in a way that makes patrolmen sound like idiots.”

        is there a way to put it that makes them NOT look like idiots?

  4. Lally added that if faced with a potentially violent situation, “The best way to de-escalate is to run away:”
    The officers should just arrive there, look at the situation, see a gun or a knife and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to get blamed if I shoot.’
    Whether it’s totally justified or not, they’re going to get reamed, they’re going to get second-guessed.

    And what the fuck is wrong with that, you officious prick?

    1. The union problems amplify the personality problems of these people who become cops because they want to exert their authoritah. What rational person, outside an honest-to-god combat situation in a real army (not the pretend armies these cops think they are in), would chose to immediately escalate any and all encounters into something that if pushed far enough would only end in someone getting tased/shot/choked out. Dude, just walk the fuck away and wait for the rest of your gang to get there. Make sure the nut who’s raving outside his own house doesn’t hurt anyone else in the meantime, but there’s no reason to take him out with a pre-emptive strike.

      1. But then you’d need “smart cops” with the ability to “think critically”

    2. Pretty much like any civilian faced with a similar situation.

      Some guy pulls a gun on me, I have to consider that I will automatically be blamed if I shoot and survive and will have to prove self-defense.

  5. What is it with Reason and graphics that look interesting but are ever so slightly illegible?

    Link to a high-resolution copy of your graphics or don’t include them at all!

    1. You’re just some guy, what do you know?

  6. The officers should just arrive there, look at the situation, see a gun or a knife and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to get blamed if I shoot.’

    Whether it’s totally justified or not, they’re going to get reamed, they’re going to get second-guessed.

    The problem, Officer Dipshit, is that cops are shooting people and consistently claiming they thought they saw a gun or knife, when in reality they saw a toy/phone/wallet/cane/nothing at all. And it’s thanks to shits like you that they don’t have to concern themselves with actually making sure they’re being threatened before they open fire. I, for one, have no problem second-guessing those officers and their actions.

    1. I also have no problem second-guessing those officers who did see a weapon. They could have just as easily been approaching the situation as any of the below:

      “Droptheweapon”*BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM*

      *BLAM* “Drop” *BLAM* “the” *BLAM* “Weapon” *BLAM*

      *BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM* “Drop the weapon.”

      When any sensible approach gives time to respond and actually let go.

    2. when in reality they saw a toy/phone/wallet/cane/nothing at all

      And this wouldn’t even be a problem if in those cases where there was no gun or knife, the cop would actually face consequences for needlessly, negligently or maliciously killing people. The fact that a cop can kill a kid with a toy in his hand and then walk away from it by saying “I felt threatened” is the whole essence of the problem.

  7. De-escalation. That’s what pussies do.

    1. So the LAPD should have no problem.

      1. But they’re pussies with impunity. Thats the second most dangerous type of pussy, right after pussies with teeth.

    2. That’s what pussies without privilege do.

  8. The LAPD, renowned for their ability to shoot anything that moves, with complete impunity are of coursevery upset someone tells them it’s time to try de-escalating situations.

    1. Are they really renowned for that ability? Isn’t this the same armed gang that dumped hundreds of rounds into a pickup truck from nearly-point-blank range because they thought it might be an escaped cop-killer, and the occupants survived?

      I guess they can shoot anything that moves, just not accurately. Another sign of pants-shitting pussies. Good infantrymen with real training can shoot accurately while under fire. Pants-shitting pussies “fear for their lives” and unload recklessly.

      FWIW, shouldn’t every single instance of a cop shooting his gun at least be treated as reckless endangerment, or whatever the correct name for that offense is? Sure, charge him, let him defend himself, and if it’s a “clean shoot” then acquit him of endangering the lives of the general public by his inherently dangerous actions, but let one of us mere “civilians” try emptying a clip as on a public street as fast as his finger can squeeze the trigger…

      1. Are they really renowned for that ability? Isn’t this the same armed gang that dumped hundreds of rounds into a pickup truck from nearly-point-blank range because they thought it might be an escaped cop-killer, and the occupants survived?

        The truck was moving wasn’t it?

        FWIW, shouldn’t every single instance of a cop shooting his gun at least be treated as reckless endangerment, or whatever the correct name for that offense is? Sure, charge him, let him defend himself, and if it’s a “clean shoot” then acquit him of endangering the lives of the general public by his inherently dangerous actions, but let one of us mere “civilians” try emptying a clip as on a public street as fast as his finger can squeeze the trigger…

        They should face the same exact legal standards as anyone else recklessly using their firearm. In the Dorner case the cops should have definitely have been charged, that’s a prime example of what I’m talking about. If a CCW permit holder would be crucified for a bad shoot, so too should a cop. It’s really that simple.

  9. While we’re being picky, the word you want is loth, not loathe. And yes, I know the English language is a lost cause, but still …

  10. “Union President Craig Lally, once named a “problem officer” in a blue-ribbon panel’s report on “the problem of excessive force in the LAPD” following the 1991 beating of Rodney King, said the new policies create a “no-win situation for the officer.””

    Wow, and his fellow union members elected him anyway?

    /sarc

    1. Try again –

      “Union President Craig Lally, once named a “problem officer” in a blue-ribbon panel’s report”

      Wow, and his fellow union members elected him anyway?

      /sarc

        1. No, they probably had no idea.

          /sarc

        2. Right…seems like something he would actively campaign on. Just imagine the TV ads (if there were such a thing for a union election):

          –cue spooky music–

          Ominous voiceover guy: Officer Smith has NEVERRR been investigated by internal affairs. In fact, he thinks its GOOOOOD to respect civil rights. Elect Craig Lally. Someone you can trust to break a few skulls that needed breaking.

  11. http://www.thenation.com/artic…..ndict-cop/

    Read the link and weep.

  12. This situation is just too difficult to resolve. Disband the LAPD, and let citizens carry sidearms for their own protection.

    -jcr

  13. ‘that if an officer were killed because he/she hesitated as a result of a new use-of-force policy “there will be blood on your hands.”‘

    And if he doesn’t hesitate there will be the blood of citizens on your hands.

    Grown-ups realize that life comes with trade-offs and that in this case it’s trading off officer safety for citizen safety. Implicitly the officer is unwilling to sacrifice a drop of police blood to save a citizen’s life.

  14. ‘that if an officer were killed because he/she hesitated as a result of a new use-of-force policy “there will be blood on your hands.”‘

    And if he doesn’t hesitate there will be the blood of citizens on your hands.

    Grown-ups realize that life comes with trade-offs and that in this case it’s trading off officer safety for citizen safety. Implicitly the officer is unwilling to sacrifice a drop of police blood to save a citizen’s life.

    1. ‘that if an officer were killed because he/she hesitated as a result of a new use-of-force policy “there will be blood on your hands.”‘

      Meh. I can live with that. Blood washes off. Seems like a pretty fair trade.

    2. They really don’t accept that this tradeoff exists. If they shoot someone, it is because he’s a bad guy and he got what was coming to him. If he was mentally ill and grabbed a knife, it shows that he was an asshole who grabbed a knife. Of course he had to die. If he was asleep in his bed during a no-knock raid and grabbed a 9-iron to defend himself from a home invasion… well, he deserved to die because knew he was living in the same neighborhood as people who do drugs – and he had to know they were police anyway, because it said “Police” on the back of their black tactical uniforms. Scumbag had to die.

      You’ll never hear them internalize and come up with “hey, we might have created an avoidable and dangerous situation that resulted in someone getting shot.” I know some very sharp and very good people who are police officers, and even these guys have an extremely hard time putting their mind in that space. Because tribalism is an extremely powerful part of our psychology, so you are almost never going to be able to turn people in the direction of criticizing their own team – especially when the attack comes from outside the team. I suppose it is the same reason that the refs are always stacked against your favorite team, no matter who your favorite team is.

  15. These changes sound great. In fact, they sound exactly like something some idiot in the comments section of “The Agitator” or Reason’s “Hit n’ Run” might post. Maybe in response to half of the incidents over the last decade.

    I am really glad they added the bit about “redeploy to a position of tactical advantage”. That just drives me nuts, particularly on the “sharp object” shootings. Mentally unstable guy comes to the door with a screwdriver in his hand…. so the police draw their weapons and advance on him yelling incomprehensibly. Aaaand seconds later they are stepping over the body. But it is all good because he was armed with a screwdriver and within 20 feet. Never mind that they created all of the circumstances for the danger excepting the existence of the screwdriver.

    Or the guy with a knife in East St. Louis in the immediate aftermath of “hands up, don’t shoot”. Knife guy is obviously mentally disturbed, but manages not to harm anyone for 20 minutes on the street corner. Then the police show up, surround him and close in while shouting incomprehensibly…… Aaaaaand moments later he’s dead, because we feared for our lives. Extra stupid points for the circular firing squad formation.

    Training these guys to take up appropriate defensive configurations and minimize the risk would be a great way to prevent a whole lot of violent interactions.

  16. Training is meaningless, except as a prelude to terminations. Start firing cops in significant numbers for unnecessary violence, and it will start to stick.

    Of course, that requires wholesale reform of our police departments, which doesn’t seem to be on the menu.

    1. Fuck that. Fire them? Charge them, like they would you or me or any other person. ‘Firing’ is nowhere near good enough, not even in the ballpark. The problem won’t get better until cops face the same laws as anyone else.

  17. Union president calls clarified rules on use of force a “a no-win situation for the officer.”

    Sounds like a “no-work” situation for the officers. The union dream!

  18. “Union Director James McBride told the Commission that if an officer were killed because he/she hesitated as a result of a new use-of-force policy “there will be blood on your hands.””

    Mr. McBride, if an officer DOES NOT follow these recommendations and shoots and kills an unarmed citizen, “there will be blood on your hands.”

    See, that kind mindless drivel works both ways, you ignorant coward.

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