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LAPD Chief Beck on police shootings, TASERs, terrorism readiness

A police officer patrols Skid Row in Los Angeles, California, September 22, 2014.
A police officer patrols Skid Row in Los Angeles, California, September 22, 2014.

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After a KPCC investigation found a quarter of people shot by police officers were unarmed, and a spike in shootings this year, LA Police Commission president Matt Johnson called the trend "alarming."

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is being asked to improve the way his department polices the city. One controversial tool is Beck's new "Preservation of Life" award that would recognize officers who refrain from using deadly force when they legally could.

This news comes soon after KPCC obtained a memo outlining LAPD's plans to equip all uniformed patrol officers with TASERs. Officials told reporter Frank Stoltze that the new policy was prompted by public outcry over police shootings.

Beck will also detail the recent arrest of the primary suspect of a three-year crime spree, including two murders and 23 separate incidents. Dubbed the "Western Bandit" because numerous crimes occurred on Western Avenue, Patrick Watkins, 51, faces two murder charges and 25 charges of attempted murder.

Plus, LAPD will soon launch the Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force focused on prostitution-related crimes. We'll find out what the stepped up enforcement means for sex-trade workers, suspects who solicit, and the impact on neighborhoods including North Hollywood and Van Nuys.

Finally, with Paris still on heightened alert following Friday’s terrorist massacre, what is the readiness of first responders in Los Angeles?


Charlie Beck, Chief,  Los Angeles Police Department