A new report on officer-involved shootings and violent attacks on police officers should push the Los Angeles Police Department to look at whether shootings are in policy, rather than if the shootings and attacks are connected, a Los Angeles city councilman said today.
Councilman Mitch Englander, chair of the Public Safety Committee, was responding to the Police Commission’s report that an increase in use-of-force cases was not related to an increase in attacks on cops. Police Chief Charlie Beck has repeatedly said the two are intertwined.
“They’re both measuring it and looking at it two very different ways,” Englander said in an interview with KPCC.
“The fact that crime is down overall, so our officers are getting into violent situations more rapidly … they’re confronting these individuals on a more regular basis and these individuals are pulling weapons,” Englander said.
The report’s findings appeared to confirm what some community groups have said for years about police-related shootings.
“Often times you get dismissed as not legitimate by elected officials, so it always helps when high level officials come out and confirm what we’ve been saying,” said Kim McGill from the Youth Justice Coalition.
Speaking to reporters last September, the police chief linked the increase in violence to officers’ quick response times.
“The more contacts you have with violent criminals, the more likely there is to be assault on a police officer,” Beck said. “The Los Angeles Police Department, due to its reduced workload, is getting to calls faster, confronting more violent suspects, and that’s what leads to these increases in attacks on police officers.”
The most important question is whether the officer-involved shootings are within policy, and, if they are, whether the policy is appropriate, according to Englander.
“My concern always is for the public’s and the officers’ safety,” Englander said.
Depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s Police Commission meeting, when the civilian panel will discuss the report, Englander may request that the Public Safety Committee vet the findings.