Administrative Disapproval

What is Administrative Disapproval?

Administrative Disapproval is a determination made by the Police Commission that an officer has “substantially deviated without justification from Department policy or training.”

What is the effect on an officers career?

The Administrative Disapproval determination from the Police Commission will go into an officer’s personnel records.  It’s ultimate effect depends on how the Chief of Police responds to it.  The Police Commission cannot discipline an officer.  According to the Los Angeles City Charter, only the chief of police can administer discipline.  When the Police Commission determines that a an officer’s use of force was Administratively Disapproved, the case is sent back to the chief to determine the punishment.  The chief has a wide range of choices, all the way from no action to recommended termination.  At best, the Administrative Disapproval is a black mark in an officer’s record, at worst it can result in a Board of Rights and termination, or anything in between.

Why an officer should be aware of what is considered an Administrative Disapproval.

In 2015, which was the last year of completed adjudications, 57% of non-hit shootings and 34% of hit shootings were determined by the Police Commission to be Administratively Disapproved on tactics.  This is an astounding failure rate.  It speaks of a major disconnect between what officers are doing on the street and what the Police Commission is expecting them to do.  It is a huge knowledge problem and a major training problem.  It is also a substantial philosophical problem.  The left leaning Police Commission is heavily influenced by the anti-police rhetoric and their perceived need to “reform” LAPD.

The result is that an officer on the street trying to deal with an uncooperative suspect and forced into the choice of using force, getting hurt, or walking away, is placed in a situation that will result in hypercritical examination of everything the officer did if his, or her, choice is to use force.  Officers do not fully understand this and believe, correctly, that citizens are not allowed to illegally resist their lawful orders and therefore they take action.  Their belief that they are backed up in this effort to enforce the law by their Department becomes challenged when they are subjected to the use of force adjudication process.

Officers need to know, whether they agree with it or not, what the Police Commission considers to be “substantially deviating without justification from Department policy or training.”  With that in mind, these examples of Administrative Disapprovals are presented.

Administrative Disapprovals (AD’s)

These AD’s are derived from uses of force posted on the Police Commission’s web site.  Their inclusion does not mean the author agrees with the Police Commission’s determination and the League often challenges the decision.  They are meant as warnings as to what is considered out of policy for the edification of officers in their attempts to do their duty on the streets of Los Angeles. They will be added to as time permits and they are issued.  [AD list]

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