Learning from the LAPD use-of-force policy

Captain Scott L. Sargent of the Los Angeles Police Department wrote about the recent changes in department policy and adjudication procedure on PoliceOne.com:

Use of Force Policy Change — Over the past several years, the LAPD has undertaken the process of evaluating and formally adopting the standards established in Graham v. Connor, 490 US 386 (1989). The new objective reasonableness based policy was approved by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners in July 2009. That policy revised and streamlined many separate force related policies and has been fully incorporated into the department’s entry level and in-service training, as well as the comprehensive use of force review and adjudication processes.

Elimination of the UOF Continuum — In 2009, the LAPD finalized the incorporation of objective reasonableness and the new UOF Policy into all areas of department operations and training for in-service and the academy. This past continuum based mandate has historically been an ineffective and unreasonable burden on officers, and is contrary to best practices and effective training. Requiring officers to classify or categorize a suspect’s behavior (i.e., aggressive combative) before electing a force option is an unnecessary intervening step and can result in a delayed response or hesitation. The new LAPD UOF Options Chart directly supports best practices in use of force training, ensures effective articulation in arrest reports and mandates the development of critical thinking skills. The new common sense training protocol has been well received because it allows officers to elect any objectively reasonable force option in response to the suspect’s behavior.

You can read about additional changes on the original article.

How do you feel about the LAPD policies? Do you think they’re applicable to smaller departments?