During these very difficult times, the Los Angeles Police Department has received many community inquiries regarding Departmental training and practices regarding abuse of power, officer accountability and attention to racial disparity. The Department values the inquiries from the community and has prepared the following responses which encompasses many of the frequently asked questions (FAQ).
1- Your Department’s Commitment to De-Escalation
The Los Angeles Police Department is guided by the principle of Reverence for Human Life in all investigative, enforcement and other contacts between officers and members of the public. When officers are called upon to detain or arrest a suspect who is uncooperative, resisting, may attempt to flee, poses a danger to others, or poses a danger to him/her self, they are to consider tactics and techniques to persuade a suspect to voluntarily comply or may mitigate the need to use a higher level of force to resolve the situation safely (Use of Force-Tactics Directive 16, Tactical De-Escalation Techniques, October, 2016).
Tactical de-escalation training involves the use of multiple techniques to reduce the intensity of an encounter with an individual or group. The LAPD has integrated de-escalation concepts into all training related to critical decision-making and potential uses of force. This training starts in the academy and is woven into annual training for all officers. The directive on De-escalation is incorporated into scenario debriefs, Mental Health Intervention Training (MHIT), and all Department promotional exams and schools.
Your Department has made a commitment of ensuring all officers are given more extensive training on how to manage individuals in a mental health crisis by mandating a 40-hour course during their first year in the field. This has been critical for your Department since the City has been tracking a dramatic increase in crisis calls. According to our Mental Evaluation Unit, there has been a 26% annual increase in confirmed crisis calls, with 80% of these calls being handled by an MHIT-trained officer. All calls related to a mental health crisis require officers to call in and triage with Department experts who work in tandem with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
2- Your Department’s Commitment to the Use of Police Video
Your Department requirements for activation and de-activation are clearly outlined in Special Order 12, April 28, 2015. The Los Angeles Police Department began utilizing Digital in-car Video in 2009, and Body Worn Video in 2014. Currently, all Department patrol units are equipped with Digital In-Car Video and all Department field forces are equipped with Body Worn Video. In Short, the Departments Body Worn Video Policy states:
“Officers shall activate their Body Worn Video Device prior to initiating any investigative or enforcement activity involving a member of the public. If unable to immediately activate due to officer safety, the officer shall activate the device as soon as it is practical and safe to do so. The recording shall continue until the investigative or the enforcement activity has ended.”
A failed or late activation from either Digital In-Car Video or Body Worn Video requires an officer to provide a documented explanation which is reviewed and tracked by supervision. Officers who unjustifiably and repeatedly incur failed or late activations are subject to discipline.
3- Your Department’s Commitment to Having Training Focused on Reducing Prejudice and Bias
105. MISSION. It is the mission of the Los Angeles Police Department to safeguard the lives and property of the people we serve, to reduce the incidence and fear of crime, and to enhance public safety while working with the diverse communities to improve their quality of life. Our mandate is to do so with honor and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standards to maintain public confidence.
110.10 SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITIES. We are dedicated to enhancing public safety and reducing the fear and the incidence of crime. People in our communities are our most important customers. Our motto, “To Protect and to Serve,” is not just a slogan – it is our way of life. We will work in partnership with the people in our communities and do our best, within the law, to solve community problems that affect public safety. We value the great diversity of people in both our residential and business communities and serve all with equal dedication.
110.20 REVERENCE FOR THE LAW. We have been given the honor and privilege of enforcing the law. We must always exercise integrity in the use of the power and authority that have been given to us by the people. Our personal and professional behavior should be a model for all to follow. We will obey and support the letter and the spirit of the law.
110.30 COMMITMENT TO LEADERSHIP. We believe the Los Angeles Police Department should be a leader in Law Enforcement. We also believe that each individual needs to be a leader in his or her area of responsibility. Making sure that our values become part of our day-to-day work life is our mandate. We must each work to ensure that our co-workers, our professional colleagues and our communities have the highest respect for the Los Angeles Police Department.
110.40 INTEGRITY IN ALL WE SAY AND DO. Integrity is our standard. We are proud of our profession and will conduct ourselves in a manner that merits the respect of all people. We will demonstrate honest, ethical behavior in all our interactions. Our actions will match our words. We must have the courage to stand up for our beliefs and do what is right. Throughout the ranks, the Los Angeles Police Department has a long history of integrity and freedom from corruption. Upholding this proud tradition is a challenge we must all continue to meet.
110.50 RESPECT FOR PEOPLE. Working with the Los Angeles Police Department should be challenging and rewarding. Our people are our most important resource. We can best serve the many and varied needs of our communities by empowering our employees to fulfill their responsibilities with knowledge, authority and appropriate discretion. We encourage our people to submit ideas, we listen to their suggestions, and we help them develop to their maximum potential. We believe in treating all people with respect and dignity. We show concern and empathy for the victims of crime and treat violators of the law with fairness and dignity. By demonstrating respect for others, we will earn respect for the Los Angeles Police Department.
110.60 QUALITY THROUGH CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. We will strive to achieve the highest level of quality in all aspects of our work. We can never be satisfied with the “status quo.” We must aim for continuous improvement in serving the people in our communities. We value innovation and support creativity. We realize that constant change is a way of life in a dynamic city like Los Angeles, and we dedicate ourselves to proactively seeking new and better ways to serve.
4- Your Department’s Commitment to Being Non-Biased
345. POLICY PROHIBITING BIASED POLICING. Discriminatory conduct on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived race, religion, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, immigration or employment status, English language fluency or homeless circumstance, is prohibited while performing any law enforcement activity. All law enforcement contacts and activities, including, but not limited to, calls for service, investigations, police-initiated stops or detentions, and activities following stops or detentions, shall be unbiased and based on legitimate, articulable facts, consistent with the standards of reasonable suspicion or probable cause as required by federal and state law. Officers shall not initiate police action where the objective is to discover the civil immigration status of any person and shall strictly adhere to the Department’s immigration enforcement guidelines as outlined in Department Manual Sections 4/264.50 and 4/264.55.
Department personnel may not use race, religion, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability (to any extent or degree), immigration or employment status, English language fluency or homeless circumstance as a basis for conducting any law enforcement activity, including stops and detentions, except when engaging in the investigation of appropriate suspect-specific activity to identify a particular person or group. Department personnel seeking one or more specific persons who have been identified or described in part by their race, religion, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability (to any extent or degree), immigration or employment status, English language fluency or homeless circumstance: may rely, in part, on the specified identifier or description only in combination with other appropriate identifying factors; and may not grant the specified identifier or description undue weight.
A failure to comply with this policy is counterproductive to professional law enforcement and is considered to be an act of serious misconduct. Any employee who becomes aware of biased policing or any other violation of this policy shall report it in accordance with established Department procedures.
5- Your Departments Commitment to the Diverse Communities We Serve
Your Departments officers are challenged to recognize the diverse communities that they come from and to cultivate awareness of how they have been impacted by living in a society where access to all systems and forms of justice have not been equal. Core to the academy and in-service training is understanding how to empathize with those we serve and to ensure that all of our officers understand the complex multi-cultural history of Los Angeles. In more recent years, law enforcement has been working with community partners to increase the number of referrals to divert people in crisis out of the system or to utilize restorative justice programs.
Procedural Justice has now become an integral part of the training throughout your Department and part of adopting this framework is to recognize the need to work in collaboration, to hear the voices of the community, and to never stop working toward a better Los Angeles for everyone.