We saw your post that the Compton City Council wants voters to weigh in on their contract with the Sheriff’s department and from what we read, it has no teeth and will not accomplish what the city is setting out to do because many of what is outlined is already in place. What exactly is an “advisory only vote”? Here are our thoughts on the proposed ballot measure.
Use of Force Continuum: A variation of this has been implemented for years. In essence what law enforcement does is follow a “continuum” that identifies what force and or tools to use as the suspect’s resistance escalates. While it sounds logical, the situation can go from “command presence” to a shooting in a fraction of a second based upon what the suspect does or if he/she is armed. The adherence to a continuum implies officers/deputies have time to escalate use of force and often situations go from “Sir, we received a call to….DROP THAT KNIFE!” within seconds of contact. What most agencies use is a use of force options chart. It gives/trains the officer to consider a number of options based upon the suspect’s behavior. When and what kind of force to use is not as clear cut as it would seem. For example, when should we deploy OC spray? after we are struck? As soon as we know the suspect is going to jail and is verbally resistive and is clearly not going to cooperate? After we try to physically arrest them and they resist?
Prohibiting Carotid Restraint: Shortly after the Floyd incident, Gov. Newsome issued an order to the State Regulatory Agency that governs police training eliminating this from training curriculum. However, agencies may still elect to use this technique but they will not have the coverage of it being a State Sanctioned application of force. This is discussed with respective unions under “meet and confer”. Don’t know what LASD is doing. IF they keep it, we suggest it be used as a Cat 3 (deadly) use of force as there may be an instance where the officer finds themselves in a fight for their lives and will use whatever it takes to survive.
De-Escalation methods: This is taught in the academy and during defensive tactics. Tactical communication training is something that is a norm in Law Enforcement. A display of your weapon is also a de-escalation tactic. Similarly, having back up units arrive is a de-escalation tactic that confuses the public who don’t see a need for so many officers to show up for a single arrest. I have not seen the LASD policy on this and it may already be in there. Additionally, there is some legislation moving in Sacramento that may make it law to have such language and de-escalation tactics in police policy, as well as the duty to intervene and to report excessive/unnecessary force.
Reverence for Life is usually in the preamble to Police Force Policies and it used to be part of the LASD force policy.
Comprehensive Force Reporting: This is already current policy (or at least it was). There is a lot of statistical data captured in LASD force reporting and its reflected in the reports on their website. In shootings and or deadly uses of force, the DA’s office, Homicide Bureau, Internal Affairs as well as the Oversight Commission folks respond to those incidents and all conduct a comprehensive investigation/review of these incidents.
Educational Campaign to the public about their rights during a traffic or pedestrian detention: That is a policy, training, and Community Relations issue that is addressed with Citizen Academies, citizen Ride-Alongs, and Working with the Community relations office at the local station (Rafer Owens for example at Compton).
In short, the Council should’ve requested from the Captain (or Sheriff) a copy of the Department’s use of force policy and any other programs or training that possibly addresses this ballot item BEFORE they put it on the ballot.
What policy makers need to understand is that post Rodney King, there have been a tremendous number of changes in how police engage the public, use force, pursue fleeing vehicles, report force, investigate force, and train officers/deputies.
The bottom line is that all of these changes did not keep George Floyd alive. The tools, training and policies are in place, the issue is that there are some sub-cultures in law enforcement, for a variety of reasons, that allow/foster officers/deputies to exercise poor judgement, and SOMETIMES use excessive and unnecessary force (the comparative numbers of police contacts to uses of force is very small).
We hope this helps.
Watch your six
Editors note: Compton City Council will hold a special city council meeting on Monday, August 3rd at 10am to vote on whether to place the proposed ballot measure before voters this November at the cost of $400,000.