After the L.A. Riots in 1992, the LAPD faced calls for massive, systemic change. The department enacted a series of reforms — and the changes have continued. On Tuesday, the L.A. police commission unanimously approved 25 new recommendations for the LAPD.
KPCC's Frank Stoltze joined A Martinez to break down the wide-ranging recommendations. They include:
- changes in how the department guards against possible racial bias
- strategies to strengthen community policing
- an evaluation of the department's discipline system
Matt Johnson, president of the police commission, offered this perspective.
"It's important to understand that this was the third in a series of reports and recommendations that flowed from those reports, all of which are interconnected.
So, the first report we did looked at our department and our history and really to analyze whether we were remaining true to the reform efforts that began 20 years ago.
The second report looked at other departments around the country to make sure that we were utilizing and employing best practices from departments around the country.
This report looked at the national best practices that were established by President Obama's task force in 21st century policing and the police executive research forums guiding principles on use of force.
All of these things really were meant to work together and keep building in the same direction to making sure that the LAPD was the best department it could be."
What is the department doing well?
"We have the most effective and robust civilian oversight of any department in the country. Our process for investigating and evaluating serious use of force incidents. The way we published that, a few weeks ago we released our 2016 use of force report... it's really unique in the country. There's no other department that provides such a detailed breakdown of their department's use of force. It's a 400-page document.
How we train on de-escalation. We're really ahead of the rest of the country in terms of the amount of resources and time that we put into that. And also, in community policing, that's an area that we do some things really well. But it is a challenge for our department...because we don't have as many officers per citizen as many other cities do. Also, geographically our city covers a very wide expanse. Much larger than say Chicago, for example, which has five times as many officers per square mile as we do. "
How is it falling short?
"We think as a department we can do a much better job of training our officers and putting in procedures in place when it's safe after an event is over to actually render aid to that person in those critical moments...
Community policing. We do some things really well. Our CSP program, community safety partnership program, where we have officers embedded in a number of the housing project is incredibly successful. We're just now expanding that, for the first time to a community that's not a housing project in Harvard park. I'm very hopeful that that will work well and hopefully we can expand that to other areas."
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