December 2017 Warning Bells article

 

December 2017 – Our unsung heroes

They get up in the middle of the night for League members; rise early to make morning watch personnel complaint interviews, and spend their weekends preparing for Boards of Rights and writing Skelly responses to avoid Boards of Rights. They are the League’s panel attorneys and they are among the few attorneys that understand the unique LAPD discipline system and are capable of guiding you through it while representing your interests. The League’s Legal Plan currently comprises 92 percent of the membership and with the thousands of personnel complaints that are filed against officers each year, these folks are kept hopping. It’s time you know who they are.

Space prevents me from going into detail, but it is our plan to provide more information on each one of them in the member’s section of the League’s website at lapd.com. So, in alphabetical order, here are the core of panel attorneys who collectively have represented thousands of officers in interviews, Skelly responses, and Boards of Rights and helped them protect their jobs.

 Muna Busailah: Muna passed the bar in 1993. She is a law partner with Mike Stone and has assisted him in the Rodney King criminal trials and other major cases. She functions as a roll out attorney for Riverside Sheriffs, as well as for the League. In addition to her many experiences with LAPD personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights, if you get in trouble in England.

Gary Fullerton: Gary retired from the LAPD after 26 years of service. During that time, he had the valuable experience of serving as a Director of the LAPPL from 1994 to 2000. He passed the bar in 1984. In 2000, Gary and his law partner, Larry Hanna, contracted with the League to be roll out attorneys for categorical uses of force and since then has done hundreds of roll outs to the present time in addition to numerous personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights.

Jodi Gonda: Jodi passed the bar in 1992, and is no stranger to the LAPD since her father was LAPD retired. Jodi has done thousands of interviews and hundreds of Boards of Rights since becoming a League Panel Attorney. Her practice since she passed the bar has been almost completely LAPD officer administrative defense and she is highly respected in that role, even by Department management. She teaches a class on Skelly responses in the League’s Basic and Advance Rep School.

Larry Hanna: Larry was familiar with LAPD because his father retired from the Department as a detective. Larry passed the bar in 1985 and began representing officers almost immediately.  Larry has valuable experience in ADA issues along with the experience of handling numerous personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights. He has also responded to hundreds of roll outs to Categorical Uses of Force as one of the main attorneys in the League’s roll-out program.

Randy Quan: Randy passed the bar in 1989. He is a retired LAPD officer who rose to the rank of captain before retirement after 27 years of service. He functioned as an employee representative defending officers when he was on the Department among his many other assignments and he served as a Board of Rights member as a captain seeing all sides of the LAPD discipline system.

Ira Salzman: Ira passed the bar in 1978. Ira spent his early years as a Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney where he became very familiar with the LAPD. He went into private practice and became a League panel attorney in time to represent one of the Rodney King officers and obtained a not guilty verdict in that trial. He went on to represent the officer in the federal prosecution of the officers and then represented the officer in the civil trial. Ira has handled numerous personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights in the meantime.

Bill Seki: Bill passed the bar in 1988 and is another attorney that first learned about LAPD as a Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney. He retired and began handling LAPD discipline cases in the law firm of Darryl Mounger. Bill also has handled many criminal trials where LAPD officers have been criminally charged along with many discipline interviews, Skelly responses, and Boards of Rights.

Mike Stone: Mike passed the bar in 1979 after being an officer in three different municipal police departments. His firm specializes in police defense and he was a past General Counsel for the League. Mike now is General Counsel for the LAPD Command Officers Association and The Riverside Sheriffs’ Association Legal Defense Trust. He has represented many officers charged with criminal misconduct, including obtaining a not guilty verdict for an officer in the Rodney King prosecutions, as well as handling numerous personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights. He is a national trainer/lecturer on uses of force and a POST instructor and is an LAPD specialist reserve officer.

Leslie Wilcox: Leslie passed the bar in 2000. She was a former Deputy District Attorney in Orange County. After that, she worked as a discipline defense attorney for the firm that represented Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs before starting her own firm. She did officer-involved shooting roll outs for LASD and now does them for us. She is also active in personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights.

Mike Williamson: Mike passed the bar in 2005. Mike was a 25-year-LAPD-officer who, while he was on the job, belonged to the Officer Representation Section in the days when they handled Boards of Rights. He continued representing officers in personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights after he retired and joined Mike Stone’s law firm. In addition to having experience in rolling out to LAPD officer-involved shootings, he now also handles roll outs for Riverside Sheriffs. He is also an instructor in college law and discipline classes.

David Winslow: Dave passed the bar in 2000. Dave also is a retired LAPD officer who was assigned to the Officer Representation Section and did roll outs, personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses, and Boards of Rights starting in 1990. He is still doing roll outs for the League, in addition to the interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights that he continues to handle. Dave’s son is now on the job and was issued Dave’s old badge.

Greg Yacoubian: Greg passed the bar in 2004. Greg is also a retired LAPD officer who served 26 years and whose final assignment to Use of Force Division gives him valuable insight into the LAPD process. In addition to handling personnel complaint interviews, Skelly responses and Boards of Rights, he functions as one of our roll out attorneys. Greg also teaches officer-involved shooting investigations for POST and remains a Specialist Reserve with LAPD.

I would like to express my appreciation to the above attorneys who are always willing to go the extra mile to help our members. They are the reason that joining the League’s Legal Plan is so important. The LAPD discipline system is like no other in the United States. It takes someone who has been associated with it for years to have the understanding to properly advise officers on discipline issues. That is why we favor associating with attorneys who have a history with LAPD and understand our own unique issues. Not part of this plan? Better call 866-LAPPL4U and get on board.

Be legally careful out there.

November 2017 Warning Bells article

The video release policy and what it means to you

We don’t have one yet, but it is coming. Currently, the Chief has determined that Digital In Car Video System (DICVS) and Body Worn Video (BWV) videos are part of the investigative process and will not be released to the public. The Los Angeles Times, ACLU and various activist groups are not happy with that. Neither is the Police Commission.

For some inexplicable reason, the Commission felt the need to hire a group from New York to get feedback on this issue and write a report. That is what the Policing Project at New York University School of Law (Policing Project) did. That report was presented to the Police Commission on Sept. 26, 2017.

The Policing Project gathered feedback by asking the general public and LAPD personnel to complete a questionnaire, holding community forums and conducting officer focus groups. They did this over a 46-day period from March 23 through May 7, 2017. Press releases were sent out, Chief Beck and Police Commission President Johnson held a press conference, articles appeared in various newspapers, social media channels announced it, emails were sent to 200 community organizations and staff members of the Mayor’s Office and 15 City Councilmembers, neighborhood councils, student associations, and bar associations all were active in getting the word out to the public to provide input. In spite of all this effort, attendance at the party was sparse.

The report says this, “Low Response Rate: Despite extensive outreach, and a fair amount of media coverage, the response rate to the questionnaire struck us as low, and attendance at public forums was lower than anticipated.” (It ranged from four to 20 individuals.) The Los Angeles Times wrote an extensive editorial and provided a link to the questionnaire. Only 15 people clicked on the link. The ACLU also encouraged people on its website to take the questionnaire. Only 53 people did so. Undaunted, however, by the lack of public interest, the report was completed.

So, the first thing that the Policing Project uncovered, but neglected to discern, was that this drive to establish a video release policy is driven by narrow special interests. The general public is unconcerned.

Of those who did answer the questionnaire, 17 percent were law enforcement officers (LEOs). And, as a group, their views diverged the most from the other responders. Seventy-one percent of the non-LEOs thought that videos should be released in response to public protests, while only 29 percent of LEOs thought so. On the other hand, 79 percent of LEOs thought that the risk of biasing jurors should be taken into account, while only 46 percent of the non-LEOs thought so. Frighteningly, although 84 percent of LEOs thought that the Chief’s concerns for officer safety should be considered, only 46 percent of the non-LEOs agreed. It would appear that we are largely on our own.

That being said, it is important that the League be involved in determining the ultimate video release policy to be imposed on the Department by the Police Commission. We believe it is a meet and confer issue, and we will go to court if the Police Commission disagrees. The policy will certainly have an impact on working conditions.

Of top importance is the issue of officer safety. The policy needs to recognize that the release of a video can place an officer and the officer’s family in danger. First, it provides those who would do harm to the officer with the officer’s photograph for easy identification. Second, since uses of force are seldom pretty, the video might have the effect of enflaming passions among certain segments of the community, like gang members, to do an officer, or his/her family, harm. Finding someone’s home address these days on the internet does not present much of a problem, especially since the Department is so forthcoming with officers’ names in connection with uses of force. The policy needs to address this issue and recognize the danger.

Should every video be released, or should it be decided on a case-by-case basis? Eighty-eight percent of the non-LEOs thought that every video should be released at some point in time.

A related question is, just who ultimately decides to release a video? Is it the Chief? Is it the Police Commission? Is it the ACLU or the media? Is it the family of the injured or deceased suspect? What if an officer is murdered on camera? Should the officer’s family have a say on whether the video should be released? (The Policing Project report did not even consider this issue.)

If every video is to be released, what is the time frame? Forty-nine percent of non-LEOs wanted it to be within 30 days, 16 percent were willing to go out 60 days, and 11 percent wanted release within 120 days. Only 8 percent were willing to wait until the Police Commission adjudicated the use of force, while 14 percent would wait until the District Attorney decided whether or not to file charges. Obviously, the release of a video prior to the adjudication of the use of force, from the officer’s point of view, invites the political wind to blow on the adjudication decision. No use of force is perfect, and it can probably be counted on that activist groups and the media would emphasize any imperfection.

Another issue that was not addressed was the scope of the video to be released. For instance, what if there is an hour of vehicle pursuit video from several units before an officer-involved shooting occurred before the usual foot pursuit that occurs when the suspect bails out of the vehicle and runs? Is only the video of the actual shooting subject to release, or does the release include all of the DICVS and BWV tapes from the start of the vehicle pursuit from every unit
and officer involved, even though only one video depicted the shooting during the foot pursuit?

What about a situation where a shooting takes place within two minutes of an officer going to the bathroom? With a two-minute buffer video capture time prior to the pushing of the record button, this is certainly possible. Does the policy address a method of keeping such personal actions from being released with the rest of the video? And, again, who makes that decision?

The point is that a video release policy has a huge impact on an officer’s working conditions given that an officer is required to hit that record button. The League needs to be involved in forming that policy to provide as much protection for its members as possible.

Be legally careful out there.

AD Warning-Tactics & U of F [004-15]

Short Story:  The officers received a radio call from the Fire Department that they were responding to a call where a male had locked himself in the bathroom with a knife, threatening suicide. The suspect’s brother briefed the Fire Department captain.  The captain knocked on the bathroom door.  The suspect opened it and the captain noted that the suspect was naked and had dried blood on his body.  The suspect inquired if the Fire Department had a gun so they could shoot him, then closed the door.  Officers and Sergeant A arrived and deployed around the door and covered the rear window.  Sergeant A heard a noise in the bathroom, but the suspect did not respond.  Sergeant A did not know if this failure was willful, or if the suspect was down and bleeding out.  He decided that exigent circumstances existed and decided to breach the door.  Sergeant A deployed officers around the door, one equipped with a TASER.  Officer F kicked the bathroom door.  The suspect was holding a knife, screaming, and covered with blood.  Officer D ordered the suspect to drop his knife.  The suspect replied, “you are going to have to shoot me!”  Several officers repeatedly told the suspect to drop the knife.  Officer C observed the knife fall to the floor and announced, “the knife is down.”  The suspect began to exit the bathroom in the direction of the officers.  Sergeant A yelled “TASER him.”  Officer B activated the TASER.  Officer F observed the suspect cross the threshold of the bathroom in the direction of the officers and, still believing he had the knife, fired one shot as the TASER was fired.  The suspect went down.  He got up and continued advancing.  He was TASERed two more times before the officers were able to handcuff him.  BOPC Finding: Tactic and U of F:   1) Sergeant A did not effectively communicate with the officers assigned to the team about their specific roles.  He gave them multiple conflicting responsibilities. 2) Sergeant A had a barricaded suspect and did not request additional resources. 3) Sergeant A did not conduct a thorough assessment of the situation and decided to breach the door.  He did not contact the Mental Evaluation Unit nor SWAT for advice.  4) It was not reasonable for Officer F to believe there was an imminent threat of death without seeing the knife.

 

AD Warning-Tactics [002-15]

Short Story: A victim reported that he had been kidnapped by a suspect armed with a gun.  He had escaped and the suspect was still inside an abandoned building.  Officers surrounded the building and requested SWAT and an air unit.  SWAT arrived and swapped out the patrol officers from the perimeter.  In the meantime, the air unit had found the suspect’s car.  Sergeant B was monitoring the car.  Upon being relieved by SWAT, Officers A and B joined Sergeant B in monitoring the car. Sergeant B informed them that a witness had noticed a gate open on some abandoned property next to the suspect location.  Sergeant B instructed Officers A and B to check that out in case the suspect had escaped the SWAT perimeter.  No one notified the command post of this because Sergeant B felt it was beyond the area that the suspect was supposed to be in.  The officers observed a shed and opened the door to check it out.  The suspect was viewed pointing a gun at the shed door.  The officers advised communications.  SWAT responded and utilized gas.  SWAT Officer N fired 3 rounds at the suspect.  The suspect eventually surrendered.  BOPC Finding: AD on Tactics: 1) Sergeant B and Officers A and B did not notify SWAT or the Command Post that they were going to check out the adjacent property. 2) Officer B, after viewing suspect with a weapon began giving orders to the suspect, exposing himself instead of redeploying. 3) Sergeant B violated command and control by allowing officers to search the adjacent property without sufficient resources, helmets, or notification to SWAT of the Command Post.

AD Warning-AD UD [001-15]

SHORT STORY:  Officers responded to an ADW in progress three suspects in possession of handguns.  As they arrived, they received word that one of the suspects had run into a market.  The officers surrounded the market.  Officer E removed the shotgun from its rack and chambered a round.  He loaded a round into the shotgun from the butt-cuff.  He took the safety off and placed his finger along the frame because he felt that the armed suspect may come out of the building shooting (a rear door was open).  While re-positioning himself, he slipped.  As he attempted to regain his balance, his finger wrapped around the trigger and he had an unintentional discharge into the ground.  BOPC FINDING: AD on Unintentional Discharge:  Operator error. Violation of Department’s Basic Firearm Safety Rules.

October 2017 Warning Bells article

Dunderheads?

Did you realize that 52 percent of Categorical Uses of Force are Administratively Disapproved for at least one officer, and usually more than one? The standard for Administrative Disapproval is that an officer has “substantially deviated from Department policy or training without justification.” A 52 percent failure rate in private industry would immediately result in the termination of every manager involved. In the government, however, you know what rolls downhill instead.

On the surface, LAPD officers must all be dunderheads who cannot be trained to have a failure rate that high. Eighty-eight Categorical Uses of Force for 2015 have been posted on the Police Commission’s website. Forty-six contain Administrative Disapprovals for one or more officers. Since the Categorical Use of Force protocol takes around 10 months to complete, 2015 is the last complete year of adjudications. The 2016 figures are not yet completed, but of the 40 cases posted so far on the Commission’s website, 19 of them contain Administrative Disapprovals for one or more officers (47.5 percent failure rate). There is little reason to believe that 2016 will end up any different than 2015.

For review, the road to Administrative Disapproval goes like this. A Categorical Use of Force occurs. Officers are all separated and Force Investigation Division (FID) responds and interviews everyone involved and conducts an investigation. All interviews are transcribed and included in a report that addresses every aspect of the incident (often approaching 1,000 pages). The investigation goes to the officer’s commanding officer (CO), who reviews it and determines what his/her recommendation will be in three areas: tactics, drawing and exhibiting a weapon, and the use of force itself. The CO makes recommendations in each of the three areas to the Use of Force Review Board. The Use of Force Review Board makes a recommendation to the Chief of Police, and the Chief makes his recommendation to the Police Commission. The Police Commission makes the final decision and posts that decision on the internet, minus the officer’s name. The initial recommendation of the Use of Force Review Board is almost always accepted by the Chief, and the Chief’s recommendation is almost always accepted by the Police Commission. Cases that have gone political are the exception.

Administrative Disapprovals are not good for your career (see the March 2017 Warning Bells article for a full discussion). So, how do we fix this? The first step is to identify the problem. Is it a lack of training? Is it that LAPD officers are untrainable? Is it that the adjudicators (Use of Force Review Board members, Chief of Police and Police Commission) themselves do not understand the policy? Is it that the adjudicator’s expectations of perfection cannot be attained by officers who are human beings? Is it political in that Department managers want to appear to be tough on uses of force to make themselves look good to Police Commissioners who will be selecting the next Chief of Police, and who know that the Police Commission has never seen a use of force that it likes? Is it the Police Commissioners who have never been in a dark alley where someone is trying to kill them and have no frame of reference to understand the conditions under which officers make the use of force decisions they make? Who are the dunderheads?

LAPD officers are probably the best trained in the nation. Given the catastrophic failure rate in use of force adjudications, it is obvious that there is no familiarity with the troops on what the standards are upon which they will be judged. Lawyers learn how to predict results in legal cases by reading the appellate court’s decisions and trying to find the common factors used to arrive at their adjudications. Maybe the same thing needs to be done by street officers.

With that in mind, I analyzed all the Administrative Disapprovals (ADs) posted by the Police Commission in 2015. The short story of each use of force and the reasons for the adjudication are posted on my website, including a summary chart of reasons for the AD. The overwhelming number of ADs are from officer-involved shootings (59 percent), followed by a tie between law enforcement-related injuries (LERIs) and unintentional discharges (UDs) at a distant 15 percent. Of the three areas being adjudicated—tactics, use of force and drawing and exhibiting—tactics capture the most ADs (85 percent), with use of force coming in second with 26 percent. An analysis of the reasons for the AD adjudication reveals that the big four reasons mentioned are 1) failure of partners to communicate during the incident (33 percent), 2) no Code 6 (26 percent), 3) no discussion of tactics prior to the incident (22 percent), and 4) failure to wait for additional resources before acting (22 percent). There were 37 additional sets of reasons that I could also identify, ranging from failure to wear vests through separation issues. The number of ways to screw up, in the Police Commission’s view, appear to be endless.

My advice is that officers should read the facts and adjudication reasons of as many Administrative Disapprovals as they can. What happened to others can (and will) happen to you. You may not always agree with the adjudications, as I often do not, but your agreement (and mine) is irrelevant. The reality is that this is what the Police Commission is doing, and you need to understand the lay of the land. It may help you avoid stepping on a land mine.

Doing this will not be a morale builder when you see the many ways that you can end up on the wrong side of a use of force, but it will make you more realistic in determining whether to use force, or how much force to use, and realize how your tactics are put under a microscope because of the use of force protocol. In the meantime, Officer Representation Section challenges many of these adjudications in Administrative Appeal Hearings, and it is not unusual for the League to finance a writ in the Superior Court challenging the Department’s decisions.

A 52 percent failure rate is a management failure. The Police Commission should be beating up management, not street cops. Officers are beaten up enough on the street when they try to enforce the law. The danger is that the Police Commission will make enforcing the law so hazardous to an officer’s career that proactive police work is discouraged. That is not good for the Department or the people of Los Angeles.

Be legally careful out there.

September 2017 Warning Bells article

De-escalation is not a tactic, it is a result

That is what I was told at the Force Science Institute’s two-day seminar on “Realistic De-escalation.” As you know, the Police Commission has insisted on modifying our Use of Force Policy to include de-escalation, and de-escalation has become the buzzword that will solve all the use of force problems nationwide if only those darn cops could be forced to use it! No matter that you have been using it your entire career, just not putting the word in your reports. So, we now have the word in our Use of Force Policy, and the Department has even published a directive called “Tactical De-escalation Techniques.” (Directive No. 16, October 2016)

Force Science Institute is a research group that is made up of physicians, psychologists, behavioral scientists, attorneys and other professionals who study human factors, movement, action/reaction times and how the mind works during rapidly unfolding events. They looked at de-escalation through scientific eyes, thus the title of their seminar: “Realistic De-escalation” (emphasis mine).

Force Science considers de-escalation to be an “outcome,” not a tactic. Tactics are important to de-escalation, but the ultimate goal, when possible, is to establish influence with the subject through communication to resolve the incident. Containment and control must exist to establish this communication, and it takes two parties, the officer and the suspect, to make it work. That is where the qualifier “realistic” comes in. The suspect can steal your reaction time. There may be no time to establish communication or influence.

Force Science Institute has conducted hundreds of tests on reaction times. A suspect six feet away from an officer can cover that distance in an average of .73 seconds. A punch or a kick can be delivered in .2 seconds, a knife slash in .14 seconds, a strike with a bat or club in .18 seconds, and gun draw from a waistband and subsequent firing of the weapon in .26 seconds. And because a novice with a gun points and shoots, the novice will have a hit rate of 77 percent, usually the face. Time compression can defeat de-escalation before you can say “one thousand one.” When the suspect steals your reaction time, immediate force may be the only answer you have left .

But if you are fortunate enough to establish containment, your next problem is to establish control. Your goal now becomes to establish communication with the suspect, build rapport and create influence. You then use the influence to resolve the problem. Now science steps in.

How do you create influence? First, forget about diagnosing the suspect. Whether the suspect is schizophrenic, manic depressive, brain damaged, chemically imbalanced or all four, it is not helpful for you to classify the malady, and it couldn’t be done even by a doctor without a battery of tests—so don’t try. What you need to determine, according to Force Science, is whether you can make contact with the suspect, i.e., communication on some level. You need the communication to establish the rapport, and you need the rapport to establish influence.

Watch the suspect. Is he defending his territory? If so, don’t invade his space. Does he have a fatal medical condition? Call an ambulance. What is his perspective? What is the goal of his activity in his mind? No matter how ridiculous it might be, it is the suspect’s reality. If the suspect’s thinking is contaminated because of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking or mood disturbance, your words to the suspect may not even be processed by his brain. The suspect is not ignoring you, your words are just not penetrating his conscious. You must establish contact to get communication. A sharp, loud noise, such as a hand clap and shout of “hey!” followed by a calm voice, might break through and get his attention. No attention, no communication, and therefore, no influence.

Repeatedly yelling the same commands is not likely to be helpful and usually increases the tension, not only with the suspect but with the officers. While trying to help the suspect gain emotional control of himself, realize that there is another person who needs to maintain emotional control. That person is you. “Ask, tell, make” is something we have always been trained in, but it is usually ineffective in this type of situation and tends to quickly lead to a use of force. When dealing with suspects with mental problems, you need to know your own triggers as well as trying to determine theirs. When an officer’s ego goes up, an officer’s safety goes down.

Techniques, explained by Force Science, are to speak calmly and watch your nonverbal communication, such as body language and tone of voice. Convey respect for the suspect. Show compassion. It may help if you confirm the possibility that their delusion may be true in order to open a dialogue. Listen to what they are saying with active listening skills. Ask them questions about what is happening, why is it happening, has it happened before, and what does the suspect think can be done about it. Ask the suspect what he needs from us. Be creative, you are trying to establish the rapport that is needed as a foundation to exercise influence.

Once rapport has been established, the suspect may trust you enough to allow you to have an influence on the next things that need to happen, such as to put down the knife or submit to transportation to the hospital. However, Force Science cautions, NEVER let your guard down. Suspects with mental conditions can unpredictably explode and attack. Always have a plan in effect for that eventuality.

Hopefully these techniques work, but if they don’t, and the suspect steals your reaction time, you may have to use force, even deadly force. Now another skill must be employed, and that is effective report writing. The modern policing atmosphere means that you will be second-guessed, Monday-morning quarterbacked and probably sued. Take some time and put everything into your report, down to the smallest detail, of the efforts that you utilized to avoid the need to use force. That includes your planning on the way to the call to establish containment.

Remember, containment is the first step in de-escalation. No containment, no communication. No communication, no rapport. No rapport, no influence. No influence, no peaceful resolution. Explain where in this plan the suspect stole your reaction time, making your use of force necessary and reasonable.

The subject is complex, and more information can be obtained at Force Science’s website at www.forcescience.org. And if you ever get the chance to attend their training, I highly recommend it.

Be legally careful out there.

AD Warning-Police Commission AD-Tactics [065-15]

SHORT STORY: Detectives A, Officers A and B observed a suspect holding a pistol out in an extended hand pointing in a westerly direction. The pistol moved backward twice as if being fired. Suspect ran and officers put out a backup on a shooting suspect and gave location and description. The detectives drove into an alley following the suspect at a distance of 15-20 yards. They momentarily lost sight of him and slowed their vehicle down. Suspect had scaled a fence and on the other side got stuck when his clothing got hung up in the fence.   As Officer A brought the vehicle to a stop, he advised Detective A and Officer B that the suspect had gone over the fence. He looked out his window and saw the suspects hand and a gun come over the fence and point at him. Officer A drew and fired twice through his passenger window, shattering it. Detective A exited the vehicle and ordered suspect to drop his gun. When he did not, Detective A fired 3 rounds and then saw the gun drop. Officer B put out a help call and the suspect was taken down from the fence and handcuffed. BOPC FINDING: AD Tactics: 1. Code Six. Detectives A and B did not advise Communications Division (CD) of their Code Six location.  The purpose of going Code Six is to advise CD and officers in the area of their location and the nature of the field investigation, should the incident escalate and necessitate the response of additional personnel. The BOPC determined that Detective A and B’s failure to ensure their personnel went Code Six was a substantial deviation without justification from approved Department tactical training. 2. Back Up / Help Call Detective A and Officers A and B requested Back-Up for a suspect that they knew was armed with a handgun and had likely just fired the weapon. Although officers are given discretion regarding the appropriate time to broadcast a request for additional resources based on the ongoing tactical situation, it would have been tactically advantageous for Officer B to broadcast a Help Call when he observed the suspect armed with a handgun in order to alert responding personnel of the seriousness of the incident. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the BOPC determined that Officer B’s actions did not substantially deviate from approved Department tactical training. 3. Pursuing Armed Suspects Detective A and Officers A and B pursued Subject 1, whom they knew was armed with a handgun. Containment of an armed suspect demands optimal situational awareness. The ability to maintain the tactical advantage rests on the ability of the officers to effectively communicate, thus ensuring a coordinated effort and successful resolution. In this case, Detective A and Officers A and B were in plainclothes in an unmarked vehicle when they observed Subject 1 armed with a handgun and began to follow him as he fled from the area. Although Officer B indicated that they were approximately 15 to 20 yards away from Subject 1 and that the officers indicated they were only tracking the suspect until they could establish a perimeter, in this circumstance it would have been more tactically prudent for the officers to hold their position and go into containment mode. It is the BOPC’s expectation that officers are decisive in their actions during a rapidly unfolding, life-threating situation while taking into consideration police work is inherently dangerous. In this case, the officers were attempting to minimize the continued threat to the public while dealing with a fleeing armed suspect. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the BOPC determined, that the actions of Detective A and Officers A and B were reasonable and not a substantial deviation from approved Department tactical training 4. Tactical Vehicle Deployment. Officer A stopped their police vehicle next to where he believed Subject 1 had climbed over the fence. Operational success is based on the ability of the officers to effectively plan and approach each incident in a safe manner, keeping officer safety in mind at all times. Officers when faced with an ongoing tactical situation must remain alert to improve their overall safety, by their ability to recognize an unsafe situation and work collectively to ensure a successful resolution. Officer A stopped the police vehicle where he last observed Subject 1 climbing over a fence with the intent of establishing a perimeter in order to contain the suspect. However, unbeknownst to Officer A, Subject 1’s pants had become caught on the top of fence thus preventing him from being able to touch the ground or get down off the fence. The BOPC was particularly critical of Detective A, the supervising officer, who was in the vehicle with Officer A. The BOPC concluded that Detective A had a responsibility to prevent Officer A from continuing to follow the armed suspect further into the alley. In this incident, it would have been tactically prudent for Officer A to stop the vehicle, further away from Subject 1’s last known whereabouts in order to prevent placing himself or his partners at a tactical disadvantage. · The BOPC additionally considered the following: 1. Target Selection – According to Officer A, as he engaged Subject 1 with his service pistol he fired his weapon at the gun Subject 1 was holding in his hand, instead of aiming at the largest target, as officers are trained. Holding Service Pistol in Right Hand and Hand-Held Radio in Left Hand – Officer B drew his service pistol in his right hand while holding his hand-held radio in his left hand. Officers are reminded the tactical disadvantage of having a service pistol in one hand and an additional piece of equipment in the other hand. The evaluation of tactics requires that consideration be given to the fact that officers are forced to make split-second decisions under very stressful and dynamic circumstances. Tactics are conceptual and intended to be flexible and incident specific, which requires that each incident be looked at objectively and that the tactics be evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances. In conducting an objective assessment of this incident, the BOPC found that the approval of a tactical plan without designated roles and responsibilities, coupled with the lack of sufficient supervisory oversight in the field by Detectives A and B as the incident unfolded was a substantial deviation without justification from approved Department tactical training, thus requiring a finding of Administrative Disapproval. Additionally, the BOPC found that Officers A and B’s tactics did not substantially deviate from deviate from approved Department tactical training.

AD Warning-Police Commission AD-Tactics and U of F [57-15]

SHORT STORY: Officers responded to a radio call about a man breaking windows with a skateboard. Officers saw the broken window and observed the suspect walking and saw him swing the skateboard at a store window. Officers exited their vehicle and ordered the suspect to get on the ground. The suspect mounted his skateboard and skated away. The officers returned to their vehicle and followed the suspect. He would periodically fall off his skateboard, then get back on and continue down the street. When the suspect fell, Officer A, believing they had an opportunity to seize the skateboard, stopped the vehicle and told Officer B to grab it. Officer B exited the vehicle and ran toward the skateboard. So did the suspect. Officer A saw that Officer B was going to lose the race and feared the suspect would use the skateboard against his partner. He exited the vehicle and ran towards them. Officer B drew his pistol and ordered the suspect not to pick up the skateboard. Officer A arrived from the rear and grabbed suspect in a bear hug before he could pick up the skateboard. Officer B holstered. Suspects hands were under his body and the officers struggled with him to get his hands out and in cuffs. The officers eventually used blows to no effect. Officer A told Officer B to use the TASER. Officer B did so several times with no result. Officer A broadcast a help call.  Officer A was exhausted. Officer B, seeing that the TASER was having no success decided to grab the suspects legs. He could not holster the TASER because the holster was on his side that was on the ground. He placed the TASER up on a step and grabbed the suspect’s legs with his legs to try and control his kicking and tried to control one of the suspects arms. The suspect managed to get control of the TASER and started TASERing Officer B. Officer A heard Officer B screaming and shaking as well as hearing the TASER fire. Officer A felt his partner was incapacitated and being seriously injured along with the possibility that the suspect would be able to get Officer B’s gun because he could not see the suspect’s hands. Officer A drew his weapon, ordered the suspect to drop the TASER, and when he did not, he fired one round into the suspect’s back. The suspect ceased struggling. BOPC FINDINGS: AD on Tactics and AD on U of F:   Tactics: (1) did not wait for additional resources before making contact with the suspect; (2) failed to properly maintain control of the TASER; (3) additional considerations: (a) unnecessary spark test; (b) rib cage and back TASER application not best, should be arm, thigh, or calf; (3) no hobble or baton on person. U of F: it was not reasonable to believe that the suspect’s actions presented a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

AD Warning-Police Commission AD-Tactics-[056-15]

SHORT STORY: Suspect exited a truck, yelled “help me, help me” and wandered aimlessly in an intersection. He then got back in the truck and drove off until he fell out. The truck continued and crashed into a fence. Suspect stood up and walked into traffic. Then took off his shirt and began walking with a gallon of water in his hands. Witnesses called the police. Meanwhile the subject tried to get in the passenger side of a Port Police vehicle. He was prevented by the officer who thought he appeared to be a mad man. Suspect walked on the road and would throw objects at vehicles. Officers arrived and requested a backup. Officers sat the suspect down and handcuffed him using two pairs of handcuffs because of his large size.   Officers attempted to get the suspect in the police vehicle but he would not put his legs in and began kicking. He used his weight to push himself out of the vehicle and the officers guided him to the ground. Suspect began saying “heart attack-heart attack.” Officers used body weight to hold the suspect down as he was kicking and moving from side to side. Officers put a hobble restraint device on the suspect’s legs and placed him on his left side. A Rescue Ambulance was requested. Officers noted that the suspect did not appear to be breathing. They placed the suspect in the seated position, but still no pulse. CPR was begun. A breathing mask was also brought into use. A heartbeat was felt, but then again stopped. The RA arrived and took the suspect to the hospital, but he did not survive. BOPC FINDINGS: AD Tactics (1) did not update their location when looking for the suspect; (2) did not request an RA in a timely manner; (3) additionally considered (a) suspect told to place hands on hood to be in front of In-car-camera, hoods can be hot; (b) did not activate rear seat camera prior to trying to get suspect in vehicle; (c) did not have hobble restraint device on their person; (d) stepped on suspects foot for control, could lose balance.