LAPD to retrain thousands of officers in crowd control tactics
The retraining and change in tactics are "a direct reflection of lessons learned in 2020," said Chief Michel Moore
By Josh Cain
The Whittier Daily News
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department says it'll begin retraining thousands of officers in crowd-control tactics and new rules for using less-lethal weapons adopted following protests in 2020 that saw the agency heavily scrutinized for its response.
Chief Michel Moore and other commanders who presented LAPD's tactics at the Los Angeles Police Academy on Thursday, Dec. 8, said around 8,000 officers, from the lowest levels to the chief himself, are still being retrained this year.
But starting in 2023, officers will get trained in those tactics all over again.
The retraining and change in tactics are "a direct reflection of lessons learned in 2020," Moore said.
LAPD leaders have focused on training as one of their major failings during the 2020 uprisings following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man whose brutal death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was captured on bystander video.
Several after-action reports written in the aftermath of the protests faulted LAPD for failing to train officers in how to respond to the crowds of people who took to the streets in May and June and that year.
Most of the protests were peaceful, but some of the demonstrations turned violent. In response, officers were seen hitting people with batons and firing their less-lethal weapons from close range or at bystanders.
Use of the LAPD's 40-millimeter launcher, which fires a single hard, foam projectile, and its 37-millimeter launcher firing five smaller foam rounds were especially scrutinized.
Both weapons have been the subject of lawsuits filed by activists who were on their receiving end, some left with grievous injuries.
[LISTEN: Dr. Frank Straub on the LAPD response to George Floyd protests]
The department now designates a cadre of officers with special training as the only ones who can use the 40-millimeter launcher in a crowd control situation.
Use of the 37-millimeter launcher has been heavily restricted. Because of the way it shoots rounds, the weapon too easily can target people an officer didn't intend to hit.
Commanders and training officers at Thursday's demonstration said the launcher can now only be used when a higher-level commander signs off on it. That would give the launcher the same level of internal control as the department's drones and other deployable robots.
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