The recommendations regarding de-escalation and the LAPD use of force policy include revising the policy "to include attempts at de-escalation whenever feasible" and to "emphasize that deadly force shall only be exercised when reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or appear impracticable."
Hopefully the recommendations will be adopted. Placing an emphasis on de-escalation at all levels of training and discipline will save lives by reducing unjustified police shootings. The recommendations accord with the constitutional mandate that all force used be “reasonable under the circumstances.” The recommendations – and the way they encourage a shift to a “de-escalation” mindset – also accord with Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Learning Domain 20 in which every California police officer is trained. POST Learning Domain 20 provides that:
“The use of lethal force in the most serious decision a peace officer may ever be called to make. Such a decision should be guided by a reverence for human life and used only when other means of control are impractical or have been exhausted.”
At the heart of policing, and certainly at the heart of every decision that could end a human life, must be a reverence for human life. The more we can move our policies in line with the very basic and fundamental concept of reverence for human life, through de-escalation and other means, the closer we will come to achieving a new policing mindset in which it is not just unacceptable to use any force but the minimal amount necessary but in which it is also unthinkable.