L.A. Police De-escalation Policy Called ‘Dramatic’

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The Los Angeles Police Commission has approved new rules ordering officers to try de-escalating potentially violent conflicts before using their weapons. The policy change is “dramatic, and it’s long in coming, and it’s necessary,” Joe Domanick of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice tells NPR. Domanick, author of the book “Blue: The LAPD And The Battle To Redeem American Policing,” says the rules change is “the last piece that the LAPD really has to address before we can really say the transformation that it’s been undergoing under Chief [Charlie] Beck for the last eight years is really happening and hopefully will continue when he leaves.”.

Domanick says similar policies are being adopted by progressive police departments across the nation. He says the police commission and Beck believe that the rate of shootings by Los Angeles officers “remains unacceptably high.” Domanick notes that the police union vehemently opposes the rules change.  “They want as much freedom as possible to act as they see fit, and they don’t want to be held accountable if they make a mistake,” he says, adding that, “There are some situations where a police officer has to shoot. What de-escalation says is, you do whatever possible so that you don’t have to shoot.”


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