"Community Police Oversight Commission Urges Pasadena Police Department to Update Firearm Policy"
The Pasadena Police Department (PPD) is facing calls from the Community Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) to update its firearm policy. Specifically, the CPOC is urging the PPD to require reporting and tracking of any intentional pointing of firearms at individuals.
As part of its annual work plan, the CPOC established an ad hoc committee to review and assess the PPD’s Use of Force policy. One of the key priorities of this assessment was to review the policy section related to the pointing of firearms to determine whether the PPD was following best practices.
After working with the independent police auditor and reviewing the policies of other law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County, the ad hoc committee concluded that the PPD’s current policy fails to adequately address the intentional pointing of firearms.
The ad hoc committee found that the PPD’s current Use of Force policy, which includes guidelines for firearm display, does not consider the intentional pointing of a firearm as a use of force or a reportable action. In contrast, several other LA County agencies have stronger policies that require the reporting of any intentional pointing of a firearm.
The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training’s (POST) Use of Force Standards and Guidelines also states that “any intentional pointing of a firearm at an individual by an officer should be reported.” The National Police Foundation’s independent review of the PPD’s Use of Force policy similarly recommended that the PPD “should document when officers point their firearms at individuals.”
The CPOC believes that the points above warrant a reassessment of this policy and calls on the PPD to update its policy language to require the reporting and tracking of any intentional pointing of a firearm at an individual. The CPOC also requested an update on the PPD’s reassessment and ultimate decision at a future meeting.
The CPOC’s recommendation has not been taken by the PPD to date, and the PPD has not yet indicated whether it will update its policy. This lack of progress has led to concerns that the PPD is not following best practices regarding the use of firearms.
However, some critics argue that requiring the reporting and tracking of intentional firearm pointing would impose an unnecessary burden on law enforcement officers. They argue that in many cases, officers must draw their weapons as a precautionary measure rather than as a response to an actual threat.
These critics also argue that mandating the reporting and tracking of every instance of firearm pointing could lead to officers hesitating to use necessary force in dangerous situations, or could discourage qualified candidates from joining law enforcement agencies for fear of over-scrutiny.
Others contend that there are already sufficient reporting mechanisms in place for use of force incidents, including the requirement to file incident reports and the use of dash cameras and body cameras.
Despite these concerns, the CPOC argues that requiring the reporting of intentional firearm pointing is a necessary measure to increase transparency and accountability in law enforcement. They point out that other LA County agencies have been able to adopt similar policies without adverse consequences.
Additionally, the CPOC argues that the PPD is obligated to update its policies to align with best practices and recommendations from experts, including the POST and the National Police Foundation.
The PPD has not yet commented on the CPOC’s recommendation or the potential impact of updating its firearm policy. However, the CPOC’s call to action has sparked an important conversation about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement officers and the importance of accountability and transparency in policing.
As the PPD and other law enforcement agencies consider the CPOC’s recommendation and work to update their policies, it is important to balance the need for officer safety with the need to ensure that encounters between police and community members are safe and respectful for all parties involved.