Crime & Justice

Los Angeles police to beef up data on officers' use of force


The Los Angeles Police Department will collect and report more extensive data about cases in which officers use force, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday, adding that the expanded information will help the public better analyze officer behavior.

Beck announced the move at a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission, a civilian oversight panel, saying that the yearly review of use of force will be much more comprehensive than the department has ever done in the past.

"If you view these things in a vacuum or with limited comparative data, it's hard to draw conclusions," Beck later told reporters. "I want to provide enough data that people can see the total picture, not just one small piece of it."

The new data will include the demographics of people on whom officers use force, arrest demographics, the types of calls involving force, and comparisons with how many overall calls for help the department gets.

Beck said it was "painfully obvious" why the department wants to expand the data it tracks, pointing to the national conversation surrounding the use of force by law enforcement, something he discussed alongside President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., two weeks ago.

"I think it's important that LA be a leader in this and that we try to put some reason behind the conclusions that are being reached," Beck said. "I may not change folks' conclusions on this subject, but I would like to put some facts in front of them so they can make a better assessment of the way that the police department deals with use-of-force issues."

So far this year, Beck said there have been 44 officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles, 18 of them fatal. He said that's compared with more than 500,000 stops, more than 97,000 arrests and about 1,500 cases involving the use of force.