Revised LAPD policy requires officers to attempt de-escalation before using guns

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new policy will now require Los Angeles Police Department officers to try to defuse a tense encounter by using time, communication and distance before resorting to their guns.

The revised policy was approved unanimously by Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

"This will not stop every instance of officer-involved shootings, but used correctly over time, it will," said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. "The point of all of this is trying to create a likelihood of outcomes of success and then applying over a period of time."

Even before rolling out the policy, Chief Beck said 7,000 officers have already been trained. The inspector general said the new policy could help the commissioners decide whether a shooting was justified or not.

"The addition actually allows the commission to look into the de-escalation efforts of the officer," said Inspector General Alexander Bustamante. "That coupled with the prior use of force change that was made previously would allow the commission to look at pre-shooting conduct."

According to the LAPD chief, officers who do not follow the new policy could face consequences, "depending on the situation."

"Every situation is different," said Beck. "Oftentimes these are things attributed to training or not so much a mistake of the heart, but of the mind as they were trying to work out a problem."

The new policy, however, does have critics, including the grandmother of Keith Bursey, a man killed in an officer-involved shooting in June of 2016.

"The de-escalation policy that was approved has no substance. Our ideology is we want full transparency and acknowledgement for when law enforcement steps out of the bounds of ethics," one detractor said.

The new policy takes effect immediately.
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