"Despite the progress the LAPD has made, we are living in challenging times," the new president of the Los Angeles Police Commission said on Tuesday, calling for a new approach for the department aimed at combating what he described as an "alarming" rise in officer-involved shootings and a general "crisis of confidence." In response to these startling new statistics, President Matt Johnson is requesting a thorough analysis of all use-of-force incidents involving LAPD officers in an effort to compare the data with various other departments, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"The LAPD, like police departments across our country, is facing a crisis of confidence with minority communities, particularly African Americans," Johnson said in a statement. "As a result of both real and perceived racial disparities in policing, there are deepening wounds in Los Angeles and cities across the country." According to Johnson, LAPD officers have "opened fire" 45 times so far in 2015, compared to just 23 times during the same time period in 2014.
Johnson's proposed path, as recounted by the Times, to making the LAPD the "model for the entire nation" is relatively simple:
President Matt Johnson unveiled a road map for the LAPD that focused on two key goals: reducing L.A.'s rising crime and the instances in which officers use force.
To accomplish that, Johnson requested an extensive analysis of incidents when LAPD officers have used force and how that compares to other major police departments. He has also asked for reviews of the LAPD's new body cameras, training and less-lethal equipment, like Tasers and bean-bag shotguns.
"Culture and habits do not change overnight," Johnson added. "We will have to reward excellence and hold accountable those who do not comply. We cannot expect to change behavior if there are not real consequences for those found to be out of policy."