LAPD Rise in Shootings Vs. Assaults on Officers, OCSD Removes Security Officers’ Off-Duty Powers, and a New ACT Testing ToolJuly 3rd, 2012 by Taylor Walker
NO CORRELATION BETWEEN RISE IN OFFICER SHOOTINGS AND ASSAULTS ON OFFICERS, SAYS LAPD WATCHDOG
According to Alex Bustamante, the inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission, there is no link between the rise in LAPD officer-involved shootings and the reported rise in assaults on officers–a claim Chief Charlie Beck made in November. The findings are detailed in a report Bustamante will present to the commission on Tuesday.
LA Times’ Joel Rubin has the story. Here’s a clip:
Los Angeles police fired their weapons in 63 incidents last year, a total which marked a roughly 50% increase over the shootings in any of the previous four years, according to the report. Beck has explained the increase by pointing to what the LAPD said was a 22% increase in assaults on officers from 2010 to 2011. Police officials counted 193 such incidents in 2011, which were recorded as assaults with a deadly weapon or attempted murders, according to the report.
“Officer involved shootings are also up — largely in response to these kind of attacks,” Beck told the Police Commission in November.
But the inspector general found several reasons why he said this cause-and-effect relationship wasn’t accurate. For one, from 2007 to last year, the number of assaults on officers fluctuated dramatically from one year to the next. The number of officer-involved shootings, however, remained relatively flat until last year, when they jumped. If there had been a connection between the two, the year-to-year totals should have climbed and dropped in sync, according to the report.
The way the department tracks shootings and assaults on officers also muddied matters, Bustamante found. Attacks on officers are tallied based on the number of officers present when assaults occur. By contrast, the department counts an officer-involved shooting as a single event regardless of how many officers open fire. In an incident in April 2011, for example, in which a suspect shot at police from inside a house, the LAPD counted 16 assaults on officers and one officer-involved shooting, despite the fact that 15 officers fired their weapons.
When Bustamante recalculated last year’s assault total to count the number of incidents instead of officers, he counted 106 attacks — a 45% drop from the department’s total. And, instead of a double-digit increase that Beck had contended, Bustamante said the number of assaults was actually about even from 2010 to 2011.
OC SHERIFF TAKES AWAY SECURITY OFFICERS’ ABILITY TO CARRY GUNS OFF-DUTY AND MAKE ARRESTS
OC Sheriff, Sandra Hutchens, removed security officers’ ability to carry firearms off-duty and make arrests after she received a notice in May that the officers may not meet the minimum requirements of the state commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training–POST. A union representing the officers said they are planning to sue the OCSD over the sudden gun protocol change.
FYI–LASD spokesperson Steve Whitmore told WitnessLA that their security officers have specific training to carry weapons on duty, but cannot carry off-duty. Regarding arrest powers, Whitmore said that the officers can only make citizens’ arrests–”We ask them to be ‘armed witnesses’.”
The OC Register’s Tony Saavedra has the story on the OC security officers. Here’s a clip:
The state commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training notified Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in May that the department’s 200 special officers may not meet minimum requirements for training. The officers have limited police powers and provide security at John Wayne Airport, county courthouses and county buildings. They undergo four months of academy training, while full deputies undergo six months.
POST also requires that the department notify the agency whenever a deputy or special officer is hired or terminated, which the department has not done with the special officer classification.
In response to the commission’s concerns, Hutchens on Wednesday took away, for the time being, the special officers’ ability to make arrests. Under previous guidelines, the officers were allowed to make misdemeanor arrests if a deputy wasn’t available. Hutchens also sidelined the officers’ ability to write misdemeanor tickets. And Hutchens took away their ability to carry weapons while off duty, suggesting they apply for a concealed weapon permit from the department.
The changes will remain in effect while Hutchens, the commission and the Orange County Employees Association work out a plan to handle the training concerns, said Assistant Sheriff Timothy Board.
LA Times’ Richard Winton has the story on the planned lawsuit. Here’s a clip:
…Jennifer Muir, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees Assn., said Hutchens overstepped her power in deciding the officers will no longer carry weapons off duty and directing them to carry a concealed weapons permit if they want to resume doing so.
“We plan to go to court later this week,” Muir said. “It is a matter of officer safety.”
Muir said there is a very real danger that an off-duty officer could come into contact with a suspect they handled while off duty.
NEW ACT TESTING TOOL TO HELP BRIDGE EDUCATION GAP
The ACT testing company–the college entrance exam people–has developed a new tool to assess students’ behavioral and academic abilities across K-12. The testing tool focuses on gaps between compulsory education and skills necessary for success in college and the work force.
Salon has the AP story by Josh Lederman. Here’s a clip:
ACT, the organization that developed the ACT college-entrance exam, will start testing the tool in the fall. It will be available to schools starting in 2014.The tool tracks students’ career interests, academic performance and progress toward goals. It’s designed to follow students from kindergarten through high school.
Jon Erickson, president of ACT’s education division, said the goal is to identify and address gaps in skills needed for college and the workforce. The assessment combines traditional testing with teacher-led projects to generate an instant, digital score.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Flickr user Karppinen.