Use of Force Section
The Use of Force Section oversees the LAPD’s investigation and review of all serious use of force incidents. This oversight is conducted in “real time,” beginning with attendance at the scene of an incident and continuing through to the final adjudication of the case. The goal of the Use of Force Section is to ensure that every incident is investigated and reviewed to a high standard, and to provide the Board of Police Commissioners with the information and analysis it needs to exercise its leadership role related to Use of Force. In connection with these goals, the Use of Force Section maintains the following duties:
Oversight of the Department’s Use of Force Investigations
Use of Force Section staff responds to the scene of all LAPD officer-involved shootings and other serious uses of force. At the scene, the OIG representative ensures the integrity of the initial investigation process. This includes ensuring that the investigation is being conducted in accordance with all Department policies and procedures.
Categorical Use of Force
The OIG is responsible for overseeing investigations of all “categorical” uses of force.
What is a “categorical” use of force? The following are included:
• Officer-involved shootings
• Any death of a person in police custody
• Any use of force that results in the subject being admitted to a hospital
• Deliberate strikes to the head with an impact weapon
• Neck restraints
In the days following an incident, an OIG representative attends a preliminary presentation by Department investigators. At this phase of the investigation process, areas of potential concern are identified that the OIG will closely monitor as the investigation proceeds. The OIG monitors investigations by evaluating investigators’ work at each step of the process and working with those investigators to ensure a comprehensive, objective investigation.
Oversight of the Department’s Internal Review Process
Once the investigation into each incident has been completed, the OIG maintains constant contact with the internal Department officials responsible for reviewing the use of force. OIG staff routinely meets with LAPD officials as they develop an analysis of the incident. OIG staff is also present at the LAPD’s Use of Force Review Board – a Departmental panel convened to review each case and formulate recommendations to the Chief of Police.
Reporting to the Board of Police Commissioners
The OIG produces its own, independent written analysis of each incident, addressing both the quality of the Department’s investigation and performance of the involved officers. This independent analysis includes an objective assessment of the Chief of Police’s analysis of each incident, and makes recommendations as to how the incident should be adjudicated. OIG staff attends the Police Commission closed session briefing where each case is adjudicated. OIG staff is available for any questions posed by Police Commissioners.
Subsequent to the incident being adjudicated by the Police Commission, and in furtherance of the BOPC’s commitment to transparency, the Board of Police Commissioners issues a summary of each categorical use of force incident, describing the bases for all findings.
The Use of Force Section also periodically reports upon systemic issues and trends related to the use of force, as well as identifying potential areas for improvement.
What Happens When a Categorical Use of Force Occurs?