Los Angeles Police Department to Write De-Escalation Policy

Originally published by USA TODAY in April 2016.

Los Angeles police officers who use deadly force will now be reviewed on whether their decision to use that force was justified and whether they could have done anything else to de-escalate the situation, according to plans for a new policy approved by the city’s Police Commission on March 15. The policy could be an important step toward reforms in the department. In Los Angeles County, 678 civilians have been killed by police since January of 2000.

The LAPD’s plan would elevate the technique from an old concept to a written policy, which will change how cops are investigated for their use of deadly force. However, some members of the department contend that mandated de-escalation techniques could prevent officers from saving their own lives in dangerous or violent situations. Nevertheless, the LAPD is looking to implement department-wide de-escalation training.

Training techniques could include providing in-depth, real-life examples of situations in which officers could have de-escalated the situation and prevented loss of life.

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