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LA County Sheriff: New Policy on Armed Suspects

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 24, 2010 1:38 PM

There's a new sheriff in town.

Well, not exactly...

But the L.A. County Sheriff's Department has issued a new policy for chasing armed suspects.

The policy is intended for deputies to consider other options before using deadly force.

The new tactical approach instructs deputies to contain rather than confront armed and dangerous suspects.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the policy shift was prompted by the department's increase in police shootings last year. The new tactical approach is outlined in a 30-page booklet titled "Split second decision: The dynamics of the chase in today's society." The new approach for chasing armed suspects was recommended by panel of veteran deputy training officers.

The old guidelines instruct officers to chase suspects until they lose sight of them then call for backup.

The new guidelines advise officers to try and contain a suspect that is armed and dangerous, and wait for backup officers to arrive before taking them into custody.

Deputies fatally shot 16 people in 2009, compared to 9 in 2008. One of the most notable was the death of Darrick Collins, 36, who was shot 3 times.

Sheriff's investigators said Collins was thought to be a robbery suspect. A deputy believed Collins was reaching for a weapon in his waistband and shot him 3 times.

Officials say the policy change is intended to keep deputies from placing themselves in harm's way or putting anyone else in jeopardy.


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