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LAPD Chief Beck joins AirTalk to discuss use-of-force, Taser use and more




LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, a reformer hand-picked by former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton, is seen as an innovator and also someone who's respected by the old guard.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, a reformer hand-picked by former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton, is seen as an innovator and also someone who's respected by the old guard.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

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The LA Police Commission approved unanimously a plan review LAPD’s use-of-force practices and guidelines.

Commission president Matt Johnson and Commissioner Robert Saltzman were calling for LAPD to train officers to use gunfire only as a last resort. Before the commission meeting, in a statement, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck responded, "The LAPD has been committed to using de-escalation and crisis intervention techniques for many years to safely and effectively resolve volatile situations and minimize the need to use force," and continued saying preservation of life principles are incorporated in "constantly evolving standards and policies."

We’ll find out Chief Beck’s thoughts after this new compulsory review.

One strategy for less-lethal force is expanding purchases and use of Tasers by LAPD, but a recent police department report says the electronic weapons are effective only half the time.

Plus, there is good news and bad news on the policing of mentally ill individuals. The LAPD will receive an award for its Mental Evaluation Unit (MEU) which pairs specially trained law enforcement personnel with mental health clinicians in the field. The award from the Forensic Mental Health Association of California underscores why Beck, along with the LA County Department of Mental Health, is prioritizing expansion of the teams this year. As for violent incidents with mentally ill persons, new LAPD statistics show there were 15 shootings last year - 12 of which were categorized as "suicide by cop."

Finally, we will follow up on a case of LAPD officers charged last month with sexually assaulting women while on duty. What are you questions for Chief Beck?

Guest:  

Charlie Beck, Chief, Los Angeles Police Department. He tweets from @LAPDChiefBeck