The Los Angeles Police Commission on April 18, 2017 approved a revisions to the LAPD use for force, which were recommended by Police Chief Charlie Beck. The changes are seemingly small, but in fact are very important. The key new language states that “Officers shall attempt to control an incident by using time, distance, communications, and available resources in an effort to de-escalate the situation, whenever it is safe and reasonable to do so.” Sam Walker told the Los Angeles Times that this new language reflects one of the most important new developments in policing over the past two and a half years (in short, since Ferguson). The important insight is that in many, situations perhaps even most, officers have the capacity to shape the outcome. They can choose one course of action, which is likely to increase the chance that force will be used; or they can choose a different course of action, which is likely to reduce the need to use force. Related to this, important new developments are occurring in policing related to tactical decision-making. Walker told the LA Times that the new policy is “absolutely the right thing to do.”

Read the LA Times story: LAPDForcePolicy2017