Calls for changes in the LAPD's SWAT unit

LOS ANGELES The report, compiled by a panel of law enforcement experts, has not been made public, but the L.A. Times obtained a draft of the document.

According to the Times, the report concludes that SWAT is very insular, showing there is little turnover in the unit and that there's never been a female SWAT officer in its 40 year history.

The report criticizes the rigorous training and selection criteria, saying it focuses more on physical strength than negotiating skills.

One recommendation is to lighten training and entry regulations to make it easier for women to become SWAT officers.

Some team members say the changes are misguided and will weaken the unit. They are calling the shorter set of tests being imposed 'a watering down of standards.'

The Times says some SWAT officers' wives have even emailed the LAPD saying the changes are an attempt to be politically correct to allow a woman on the team and could compromise their husbands' safety.

The draft report also finds a trend of resolving conflicts with suspects through force instead of through peaceful negotiations. Anonymous SWAT officers interviewed by the Times say they're being second guessed after the fact and that they only go tactical when they have to.

Police Chief Bratton has not commented on the report, he declined to be interviewed by the L.A. Times, but the department says it is going to be turning the report over to the Police Commission and presenting the findings in two to three months.


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