In a year dominated by heated debate over police use of force, the Los Angeles Police Department reports a significant uptick in the number of times officers have fired their guns, says the Los Angeles Times. Officers have opened fire 45 times this year, compared with 23 instances during the same period in 2014. Nineteen people have been killed by police gunfire, including a man shot this week. Yesterday, Matt Johnson, the new president of the city’s Police Commission, described the trend as an “alarming development” as he proposed an aggressive effort to study and attempt to reduce the number of times officers use force.
Johnson requested an extensive analysis spanning the last decade of instances in which police have used force and how that compares to other major police departments. He also asked for reviews of the LAPD’s new body cameras, training and less-lethal equipment, like Tasers and beanbag shotguns. “Despite the progress the LAPD has made, we are living in challenging times. The LAPD, like police departments across our country, is facing a crisis of confidence with minority communities, particularly African Americans,” said Johnson, the panel only black member. “My goal is to use these challenges as turning points and make the LAPD the model for the entire nation.” Johnson’s agenda marks the latest sign that the civilian board tasked with overseeing the 10,000-officer LAPD is taking a harder public stance on deadly force.