Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton is seeking permission to make the department’s review of officer-involved shootings and other use-of-force incidents less punitive for some officers who violate department rules, reports the city’s Times. The police commission is poised to vote today on whether to approve Bratton’s proposed changes to how he and his command staff deal with officers who use serious force during altercations. The move would alter a review system used by the department for more than 25 years. And it comes as part of a recent, ongoing shift within the LAPD away from hard-nosed discipline toward a more nuanced approach of “strategy before penalty.”
“I imagine a department full of thoughtful, creative police officers who aren’t confused about doing the right thing because they understand the principles behind what is expected of them,” Deputy Chief Mark Perez. Currently, an officer who is found to have violated department policies regarding a “categorical use of force” — incidents such as when an officer fires a weapon, strikes someone in the head or causes someone to be hospitalized — is automatically subjected to a formal review to determine what, if any, discipline should be imposed. Under the proposed changes, the chief would be allowed to sidestep that review and, instead, order the officer to receive training or some other less punitive result.