The City Council voted Tuesday to take steps toward getting the Los Angeles Police Department’s training methods in compliance with new state laws.
By unanimous vote, the council ordered a report from the police department that will include information on how the LAPD:
— trains officers to intercede to prevent another officer from using excessive force;
— trains in crisis intervention; and
— trains in de-escalation;
The report will also include information on how the LAPD deals with force used at peaceful protests and information on the use-of-force standards that were set by Assembly Bill 392 and Senate Bill 230.
AB 392 redefined when a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable, and SB 230 requires that California law enforcement agencies have a policy with guidelines on the use of force and de-escalation techniques. That bill also required that each agency make their use of force policy available to the public.
The LAPD was also directed to report on its processes for developing policies and updating training models, to include background on how the departments deals with incidents when force is used within policy but might negatively affect a community.
The third aspect of the report ordered by the City Council will detail the best ways other departments in the U.S. and internationally train officers, and which programs could be implemented within the LAPD.
The vote also instructs the chief legislative analyst to work with the LAPD and the city administrative officer to report on the feasibility of issuing a Request for Information on input into the process of modernizing the LAPD’s training methods.
“Our initiative will be key to the fundamental reforms needed for public safety. The city will take a hard look at what it does well, and how it can do better,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who co-introduced the motion, said in a statement provided to City News Service.
“The recent passage of nation-leading legislation such as AB 392 and SB 230 have put us on course to a better, safer city — and I want to ensure the City Council is doing everything it can to protect the public while supporting our officers in the field and engender community trust,” he said.
O’Farrell and fellow Councilmen Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson introduced the motion last June amid widespread protests against police brutality and racism in Los Angeles and across the U.S.
The motion cited “the tragic murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta which has re-sparked the call for police reform regarding how officers interact with the community members they took an oath to protect and serve.”
“Numerous organizations across the country, including many within Los Angeles, have called for a new standard of training for officers within the Los Angeles Police Department,” the motion stated. “More can be done to ensure training is robust, to foster a culture in the department that incentives and rewards using de-escalation and other community policing techniques, especially when dealing with large crowds at peaceful protests.”
Before the City Council took action on the motion, O’Farrell asked his colleagues to support it, saying “we need to be in compliance with these really innovative, one-of-a-kind state laws to tighten up and increase and improve de-escalation efforts, and mark much more clearly when it is acceptable to use excessive force as it relates to felonies.”
He also said it was important to review the LAPD “training which they have in place and attempt to ensure that our officers are trained with the best possible practices, while holding the department accountable and making our streets and neighborhoods safer at the same time.”
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