LAPD's watchdog asked to try new ways to evaluate officer-involved shootings

The LAPD Police Commissioners Board hears a report from the Inspector General about officer-involved shootings and assaults on officers.
The LAPD Police Commissioners Board hears a report from the Inspector General about officer-involved shootings and assaults on officers. Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Los Angeles police commissioners Tuesday told the LAPD's watchdog and the police chief that more analysis needs to be done on data related to officer-involved shootings before any conclusion can be drawn about why so many happened in L.A. last year.

“It is important for us to dig down and to try to understand it,” said Commissioner Richard Drooyan. “We just need to do some further digging.”

Officials from LAPD's inspector general's office presented a report that showed there was no clear correlation between assaults against officers and officer-involved shootings. Police Chief Charlie Beck has linked the two to explain why there was a big increase in the number of times officers fired their guns last year.

“My takeaway from this is that there is not an easy answer to that,” Drooyan said.

One of the main points in the report is that the numbers of assaults against cops are counted differently than the number of officer-involved shootings. The inspector general officials said they would work with the LAPD this week to figure out a new format for reporting and analyzing the data and write up a new report.

Beck maintained that the department has seen more serious assaults against officers that warrant some kind of use of force. Asst. Police Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur offered some new numbers to further explain: She said in 2011 there were 19 incidents in which suspects fired at officers or on other people at the scene. In 2010, there were five of those types of incidents.

Chief Beck also suggested the department look at suicide-by-cop — incidents in which the suspect’s actions are consistent with someone trying to make officers use deadly force. MacArthur rattled off the numbers of suicide-by cop incidents: six in 2011, one in 2010, two in 2009, and one in 2008.

No timeline for the new report was set, but the inspector general's office is scheduled to return to the police commission next week with a time estimate.

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