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Split Second Decision - Text for Translation

Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department

Split Second Decision
The dynamics of the chase in today's society

Message from the Sheriff
In September 2009, I convened a panel of highly regarded, seasoned deputy sheriffs (Master Field Training Officers) to examine the age-old question facing law enforcement, “If a person who you believe is armed runs from you, what should you do? What are your options?”

A deputy sheriff has a positive duty to prevent crime and take appropriate law enforcement action in all warranted situations. He or she is guided by federal and state statutes, case law, and community mandates. In addition, the policy of the Sheriff's Department is unequivocal - when facing a perceived armed suspect, a deputy shall be cautiously persistent in performing his/her duties.
The purpose of this book is to acquaint the reader with various types of life-threatening scenarios commonly faced by law enforcement officers. The overview and analysis by the panel at the end of each scenario is intentionally brief and not intended to be the final word.
Rather, each scenario is designed to provoke thought and discussion, and serve as a training tool to assist deputies in making better overall tactical decisions during high-risk situations in the field.
The intent of this book is to increase officer safety and minimize the potential for officer created jeopardy, where officers place themselves unnecessarily in harms way. The discussion, training, and tactics inspired by this book will serve as an effective tool towards reducing and eliminating the potential need for deputies to utilize deadly force during
encounters with suspects who are later found to be unarmed.
The Sheriff's Department remains committed to the highest standards of training, and our policies and practices continue to reflect a reverence for life in all situations.
Leroy D. Baca
Sheriff
Los Angeles County

 

Our Core Values
As a leader in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
I commit myself to honorably perform my duties with respect
for the dignity of all people, integrity to do right and fight wrongs,
wisdom to apply common sense and fairness in all I do,
and courage to stand against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism,
homophobia and bigotry in all its forms.

Our Creed
“My goals are simple. I will always be painfully honest,
work as hard as I can, learn as much as I can and
hopefully make a difference in people's lives.”
Deputy David W. March
End of Watch April 29, 2002
(killed in the line of duty by an armed suspect)

Master Field Training Officer
Mission Statement
We are committed to providing and maintaining the highest quality training to support the safety and professional expertise of every training officer and deputy sheriff. We will promote and foster deputies to be motivated leaders while remaining fair and professional. We will never tire of our duty to assist Department personnel in reaching their highest potential.

Master Field Training Officer's Motto
Training Today's Leaders for Tomorrow's Challenges

Table of Contents

Use of Deadly Force
Applicable Law ...........2

Reader's Guide ...........4

Scenario One
L.A. Heat...........6

Scenario Two
Zero to Sixty...........8

Scenario Three
The Butcher Knife...........10

Scenario Four
Still Thirsty...........12

Scenario Five
Teacher! Teacher!...........14

Scenario Six
Motel California...........16

Scenario Seven
Psycho...........18

Scenario Eight
G-Ride...........20

Findings and Recommendations...........22

Ten Fatal Errors...........24

Memorial of Fallen...........26


Use of Deadly Force - Applicable Law

State Law
California law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense or in the defense of others if it reasonably appears to the person claiming the right of self-defense or the defense of others that he actually and
reasonably believed that he or others were in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death. (People v. Williams (1977) 75 Cal.
App3d 731.)
In protecting himself or another, a person may use all force which he believes reasonably necessary and which would appear to a reasonable person, in the same or similar circumstances, to be necessary to
prevent the injury which appears to be imminent. California Criminal Jury
Instructions 3470.
Actual danger is not necessary to justify the use of deadly force in self-defense. If one is confronted by the appearance of danger
which one believes, and a reasonable person in the same position would believe, would result in death or great bodily injury, one may act upon those circumstances. The right of self-defense is the same whether the danger is real or merely apparent. (People v. Minifie (1996) 13 Cal.4th
1055, 1068.)
A homicide is justifiable under Section 196 when the circumstances “reasonably create[d] a fear of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or to another.” Martinez v. County of Los Angeles,
47 Cal. App. 4th 334, 349 (1996).
Penal Code § 835a: Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance. A peace officer who makes or attempts to make an
arrest need not retreat or desist from his efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested; nor shall such officer be deemed an aggressor or lose his right to self-defense by the use of reasonable force to effect the arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.


committed by public officers and those acting by their command in their aid and assistance,
either –
1. In obedience to any judgment of a competent Court; or,
2. When necessarily committed in overcoming actual resistance to the execution
of some legal process, or in the discharge of any other legal duty; or
3. When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have been rescued or have
escaped, or when necessarily committed in arresting person charged with felon, and who are fleeing from justice or resisting such arrest.
Federal Law Excessive force claims under federal law are analyzed under the Fourth Amendment and its “reasonableness” standard. The test of reasonableness is an objective one, viewed from the vantage of a reasonable officer on the scene.
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) - In deciding whether excessive force was used, one must consider the totality of the circumstances facing the officer at the scene. The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly-evolving. The reasonableness of a particular use of force cannot be judged with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 3 (1985) - A peace officer is authorized to use deadly force if he believes he or another is in danger of death or
severe bodily injury, or if he believes that the suspect would pose a threat to the public if he were to escape.


Should we chase suspects
who may be armed?

Make A Decision
What are your options?

Critical Point


Reader’s Guide

1. This book contains eight critical scenarios based on actual events. The format is designed to stimulate your thought process, and requires you to make a decision at critical points by prompting you with the words,
“Make a Decision.”
2. Ask yourself, what would I do?
Each scenario will end with a deadly force encounter. You will be required to make a split second decision at that critical point represented by the stopwatch.
3. Your options are listed on the left side of the page.
Read on to see how the deputy handled the situation, including the panel's brief analysis of the incident.

MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Chase to Contain
Controlled Search
Cover/
Concealment
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun

= = = = = = = = =

scenario one L.A. Heat
MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Chase to Contain
Controlled Search
Cover/
Concealment
Detain
Request Backup
Tactical Movement
Tactical Retreat
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Warning Shots
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
ARWEN
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Stun Bag Shotgun
Taser
Verbal Commands
Use of
Deadly Force

While working in a patrol car (unit) by yourself on a hot summer afternoon, you see the midday heat radiating off the asphalt. As you patrol your area, you receive a
call of a robbery that just occurred at the corner liquor store directly north of you. The
call describes the suspect as a White male wearing a black shirt, dark pants, armed
with a handgun. “Make a Decision.”
You broadcast on your radio that you are seconds away from the location. You
request air support and coordinate assisting patrol units to check specific areas for
the suspect. You think to yourself, “The suspect is probably long gone by now.” As
you round the corner, you're surprised to see him 100 feet in front of you, sprinting
across a vacant lot. Your heart pounds as you think, “What are my options?”
“Make a Decision.”
Instinctively, you get out of your car and give chase. You yell,
“Stop!” You broadcast your location and ask for assisting units
to respond. The suspect sees you and runs into a boarded-up
abandoned apartment building. Your closest backup is three
minutes away, and air support is not available.
“Make a Decision.”
You enter the darkened apartment to search for the suspect.
The sickening odor tells you it's being used as a hideout for
transients and drug addicts. The only source of light is provided
by the sunlight shining through the gaps in the wood covering
the windows. You reach for your flashlight and realize in your
haste to give chase, you left it in your car. “Make a Decision.”
The silence from within leads you to wonder if the suspect is lying in wait. Committed
to the chase, you continue into the darkness. You turn down the volume on your
portable radio and listen for an indication of where the suspect may be hiding. As you
search the bedroom, your anxiety builds. You peer into the closet and see the
suspect standing in the corner with his arms extended outward, hands together,
holding a shiny object pointed toward your chest.


Conclusion and Analysis
How did you handle this scenario? Did you chase to apprehend, or contain? Did you consider the
threat posed to the community? Would you have used deadly force?
This incident concluded with the use of deadly
force by the deputy. Fearing she was about to
be shot, the deputy fired once at the suspect
striking him in the abdomen. The object the
deputy believed was a handgun was later found
to be a pair of pliers. The suspect told
investigators he did not want to go back to
prison for robbery. He simulated a handgun by
pointing the pliers at the deputy with the hope of
having the deputy shoot and kill him (“suicide by
cop”). He had also used the pliers to simulate a
handgun during the earlier robbery.

The deputy decided to chase who she
believed to be an armed robbery
suspect, putting her personal safety in
jeopardy, to protect the public and
apprehend a violent felon.
In this incident the deputy had many
options. Should she have chased to
contain? What would have happened if
she had coordinated a containment of
the area and waited for backup? What if
she had requested a Special
Enforcement Bureau Canine Unit to
respond?
The panel concluded it would have been safer for all involved if the
deputy had contained the abandoned apartment building and
waited for additional resources, rather than entering alone. If the
suspect had been illuminated with a flashlight, the deputy may
have seen the pliers, possibly changing the outcome. By utilizing
a canine to search the building, the immediate risk of injury to the
deputy may have been greatly reduced or even eliminated. In the
past, the Department's culture was simply chase to apprehend.
This incident occurred many years ago; therefore, the deputy was
not working under the Department's current foot pursuit policy
which encourages a chase to contain strategy when possible.

 = = = =

scenario two Zero to Sixty
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Chase to Contain
Controlled Search
Cover/
Concealment
Detain
Request Backup
Stop Stick
Surveillance Mode
Tactical Movement
Tactical Retreat
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Stun Bag Shotgun
Taser
Verbal Commands
Use of
Deadly Force

The time is 2:00 a.m. as you patrol a high crime neighborhood with your training
officer. The neighborhood is heavily tagged with gang graffiti, and the streets are
unusually active considering the late hour. You see a woman
peering from behind the drapes of her apartment window
watching three known gang members sitting on a wall in front
of the complex.
Over the car radio, you hear a fellow deputy involved in a
high speed vehicle pursuit. Your training officer quickly turns
the car around and tells you the pursuit is headed your way.
You hear the approaching sirens from other patrol cars as
your adrenalin starts pumping. The pursuing deputy
excitedly asks for an assisting unit to search an intersection
for a large bag of cocaine the suspect just threw out the
window. Instead of joining in the chase, your training officer
responds to the request to search for the discarded narcotics.
As you begin your search, your
attention is drawn to a woman yelling and waving her
arms. The frantic woman approaches and tells you she
overheard her cousin planning a drive-by shooting at a
nearby housing project. The woman describes the
suspect's vehicle as a blue and white “Chevy Suburban”
with a gray primer fender. “Make a Decision.”
Your training officer makes the decision to look for the
potential drive-by shooting suspect and initiates a radio
broadcast alerting other units. Suddenly you see the
described vehicle drive past you. The suspect looks in
your direction and speeds off. “Make a Decision.”
Before your training officer can turn the car around, the
suspect loses control, jumps the curb, and hits a tree. Your anxiety continues to rise
as you fear the driver is armed. In a cloud of dust, the suspect jumps out and runs
away from you with gun in hand. “Make a Decision.”
As you and your training officer give
chase, you hear your partner broadcast
your location to assisting units. You
command the suspect to stop and drop
the gun. The suspect loses his footing
and stumbles to the ground. Closing the
distance, you are now 12 feet behind
him. The suspect stands up and
continues to run while holding the gun.
The suspect rounds the corner of an
apartment building and out of view.
“Make a Decision.”

You round the blind corner, expecting to see the suspect still running. However, your worst nightmare is
now a life or death reality, as you see the suspect in a crouched ambush position, aiming his gun at you.
You are now face to face with a desperate, armed gang member.

Conclusion and Analysis

How would you have reacted in this incident? Would you have looked for the suspect or continued
your search for the narcotics? Would you have contained the area when the suspect fled on foot?
Would you have run past the suspect's vehicle without checking for additional suspects? When the
suspect fell, did you consider taking cover (e.g. tree, car, house, light post, walls, rock, etc.)? Would you
round the corner after losing sight of the suspect?
This incident concluded when the deputy used deadly force on the armed suspect who posed an
immediate threat to his life. Being within arm's reach of the suspect, with no time to raise his weapon
and aim, the deputy drew his gun and fired from the hip. Despite being struck several times, the suspect
survived. The suspect's loaded handgun was recovered at the scene.
While assisting their fellow deputies in the search of narcotics, their priority quickly changed to checking
the area for the armed suspect. Upon locating the suspect, a brief foot pursuit ensued. The suspect's
actions at the termination of the foot pursuit escalated the situation to a deadly force encounter.
Repetitive firearms training (muscle memory), good physical condition, and a tactical mindset were major
factors which helped the deputies to survive. The tactic of shooting from the hip gave the deputy the
advantage in this incident. The deputy stated the moment he rounded the corner and saw the threat, he
remembered his range instructor's words telling him how to shoot from the hip.
In reviewing this incident, the panel collectively agreed the outcome may have been different if
alternative tactics had been considered. Upon seeing the potential drive-by shooting suspect, the
deputies should have considered coordinating assisting units and requesting air support. Prior to
initiating the foot pursuit, the deputies should have checked the suspect's vehicle for any additional
suspects. Once the deputies had committed themselves to the foot pursuit, and the suspect fell, they
should have considered taking cover if available. When the deputies lost sight of the suspect, they
should have terminated the foot pursuit, contained the area, and requested additional resources
including a canine to conduct a controlled safe search. When the suspect rounded the corner out of
sight, the tactic of minimizing exposure and using cover would have given the deputies a tactical
advantage, preventing the suspect from dictating the confrontation. Knowing the suspect was armed,
the tactic of “chase to contain” would have greatly reduced the inherent dangers for everyone involved.

= = = = = =

scenario three The Butcher Knife
MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Controlled Search
Cover/
Concealment
Detain
Request Backup
Tactical
Movement
Tactical Retreat
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Warning Shots
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Ballistic Shield
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Negotiation Team
Force Options
AR-15
ARWEN
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Stun Bag Shotgun
Taser
Verbal
Commands
Use of
Deadly Force


You just finished eating dinner on the hood of your patrol car with your partner
when you are dispatched to a vandalism report call at an upscale apartment complex
in a low crime neighborhood. You and your partner have been working together for
the past two years and neither of you recall ever getting a call at that location. While
interviewing the vandalism victim, you hear two females screaming in front of a
nearby apartment in the same building. They are yelling in a foreign language and
waving their arms. Both females are now directing you toward the open door of their
apartment. “Make a Decision.”
You hurry to assist the crying females and attempt to find out what is wrong. Due to
the language barrier, you are unable to determine the problem. They continue
pointing at the door trembling with fear. Your partner quickly looks inside the open
front door of the apartment and sees
no activity. Suddenly, you both hear
a female screaming from inside.
“Make a Decision.”
You repeatedly yell, “Sheriff's
Department” and order the
occupants to step outside. The
screaming continues with no
response to your commands.
Believing there is a life threatening
emergency, you both cautiously
enter the apartment. The screaming
continues as you make your way
toward the long, dimly lit hallway
leading to the back bedroom. As
you look down the hallway, you see
a man and woman standing 20 feet away. The man, in an obvious fit of rage, has the woman pinned against the wall. Paralyzed with fear,
the woman stands motionless as he presses a large butcher knife against her throat. He is so focused
on her, he does not respond to your demands to drop the knife.


Conclusion and Analysis
Given this situation, what would you have done? Would you have waited for backup prior to entering
the apartment? Would you have considered less lethal options? Would you have used deadly force?
If so, are you confident with the use of your firearm?
While maintaining a safe distance and using the interior wall as cover, the deputies drew their firearms
and ordered the suspect to drop the knife. They considered the use of deadly force to protect the
woman's life, but within seconds, the suspect surrendered.
The panel concluded, due to the urgency of the situation, the deputies had a duty to quickly enter the
apartment in order to check on the welfare of the screaming woman. Although the use of deadly force
would have been justified, the risk of shooting the woman weighed heavily in their decision not to shoot.
While the incident ended with a favorable outcome, it could have easily ended in serious bodily injury or
death to the victim, suspect, and/or deputies had the deputies reacted differently. The suspect's actions,
coupled with the deputies' reverence for life, ultimately determined the favorable outcome.
The evolution of technology in law enforcement has provided advancements in less lethal weaponry
(e.g. stun-bag shotgun, pepperball gun, Taser, and pepper spray) as options for violent encounters.
However, due to the rapidly evolving events, the use of less lethal options might not have been effective
and/or practical.

= = = = =

scenario four
Still Thirsty

MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Chase to Contain
Controlled Search
Cover/
Concealment
Detain
Request Backup
Tactical Movement
Tactical Retreat
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Warning Shots
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Stun Bag Shotgun
Taser
Verbal Commands
Use of
Deadly Force


You just left the station parking lot at the beginning of your 3:00 p.m. shift, as
the Southern California desert heat peaks at 101 degrees. You drive to the local
market for a cold soda. You frequent this business regularly and know the owner well.
As you drive into the parking
lot, the clerk runs from the
market shouting, “I've been
robbed! He has a gun!” while
pointing to a Hispanic male
adult wearing blue jeans and
a blue hooded sweatshirt.
The suspect is rapidly
walking away from the store
trying to blend in with a group
of high school kids on their
way home from school.
“Make a Decision.”
You stop your patrol car, exit,
and use your vehicle as cover. Drawing your firearm, you order the suspect to stop
and get down on the ground. The suspect complies as the group of kids scatter.
“Make a Decision.”
While holding him at gunpoint, you radio for assistance indicating your location and
begin to coordinate your responding units. Before assisting units arrive, the suspect
springs up, reaches into his waistband with his right hand, and runs toward a nearby
alley. “Make a Decision.”
Reacting quickly, you update the responding units by hand-held radio that you are
now in foot pursuit. Weighted down by 20 pounds of tactical equipment, you're
surprised to see that you are gaining ground on him. The suspect stops, quickly turns
his upper body to the left, and looks in your direction with his right hand concealed in
his waistband.


Conclusion and Analysis
Would you have chased the suspect after the store clerk told you the suspect had a gun? Would
you have radioed for assisting units? Would you have continued to chase the suspect after seeing him
reach towards the front of his waistband? Would you have set up a containment? Would you have used
deadly force?
Based on the information provided by the store clerk
and the suspect's actions, the deputy ran after the
suspect. During the foot pursuit, the deputy
believed the suspect was attempting to retrieve a
gun from his waistband. The deputy, fearing he was
about to be shot, fired two rounds from his duty
weapon, striking the suspect. The suspect fell to the
ground and was taken into custody. After searching
the suspect and the surrounding area, no weapon
was located. However, a baggie of narcotics was
found in the suspect's right front pant pocket.
During the investigation of the shooting, the store
clerk stated he did not actually see a gun. The
suspect only simulated a gun by reaching in his
waistband and stating, “Give me the money.”
After analyzing this incident, the panel discussed
and agreed the deputy's decisions were in direct
response to the suspect's actions. The deputy's
state-of-mind was to utilize cover while holding the
suspect at gunpoint until backup arrived. When the
suspect jumped up and ran, the deputy was faced
with the critical decision of whether or not to chase
a suspect he believed to be armed. The deputy had
prepared for similar events numerous times by
mentally rehearsing “what if” scenarios. Although
the foot pursuit ended in a confrontation with the suspect, the deputy's initial plan was only to chase to
observe for the purpose of setting up a containment. Given that these situations are tense, uncertain,
and rapidly evolving, the totality of the circumstances provoked the deputy to use deadly force.

= = = = = =
scenario five Teacher! Teacher!

MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Cover/
Concealment
Detain
Request Backup
Tactical
Movement
Use of Radio
Warning Shots
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
S.E.B. (SWT)
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Taser
Verbal
Commands
Use of
Deadly Force

During an afternoon briefing, the shift sergeant provides information regarding
a domestic violence incident involving a third grade teacher at an elementary school
in your patrol area. The teacher's husband is distraught over their pending divorce
and having lost custody of their six-year-old son. The crime report written the
previous day indicated the suspect threatened to “beat” the victim in front of her
coworkers. You write the suspect's description in your notebook and drive to the
school to contact the victim for
more information. Turning into
the parking lot, you notice a man
matching the description of the
teacher's husband walking
toward the main entrance of the
school. “Make a Decision.”
You see he is hurriedly walking
50 feet in front of you and
recklessly bumping into students.
Believing you have located the
suspect, you request assistance
over the radio and exit your car. As
you quickly walk toward him, you
realize he is wearing a long heavy
black trench coat in spite of the warm
weather. Your pulse rate increases
with anxiety as the hair on the back of
your neck stands up. Your instincts
tell you the jacket is concealing a
weapon. You close the distance to
within 30 feet and become gravely
concerned when you see the barrel of
a rifle protruding from the bottom of
his coat. “Make a Decision.”
You yell, “Sheriff's Department, stop,”
while thinking, “This can't be
happening, he is here to kill his wife
and the students.” He looks back in
your direction and runs toward the
open school entrance.


Conclusion and Analysis
Given this situation would you have used deadly force? Would you have chased the suspect on
foot into the school grounds? Would you have requested assistance to contain the school? Would you
have considered evacuating students and faculty from the school?
In this case, the deputy quickly assessed the
immediate threat and believed if he allowed the
suspect to enter the school, the faculty and students
may have been seriously injured or killed. The
deputy moved to cover behind a concrete retaining
wall, then engaged the suspect. With a clear line of
fire and nobody in the background, the deputy fired
three times at the suspect, striking him in the upper
torso. The suspect fell to the ground, ending the
threat. A loaded shotgun was found concealed
within the suspect's coat. A letter stating his intent
to kill his wife was later recovered from his car.
After reviewing this incident the panel concluded the deputy prevented a potential tragedy by reacting
quickly and resorting to his “active shooter” training. With the recent spike in the number of tragic school
and corporate shootings, the Department developed and implemented an annual “active shooter”
training course. The training prepares responders for a quick, immediate and effective response to
rapidly evolving, dangerous situations when time is a factor in saving lives.

= = = = = =

scenario six
Motel California

DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Chase to
Contain
Controlled
Search
Cover/
Concealment
Request Backup
Tactical
Movement
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Warning Shots
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Taser
Verbal
Commands
Use of
Deadly Force

While working your station's busiest area with your partner, he drives past a
local motel which has a reputation for drugs and prostitution. You notice trash floating
in the pool's green water, and the neon vacancy sign flickering. You see a man exit
a parked truck who looks like a gang member with a shaved head, and tattoos on his
arms and neck. He is wearing a white oversized T-shirt, tan long shorts, and white
socks pulled up to his knees.
While walking toward the motel,
he is suspiciously looking from
side to side and holding the front
of his waistband. You can see a
large bulge outlined by his shirt
at the top of his pants. Due to
his suspicious actions, your
partner drives toward the man,
stops, and you both exit to
investigate. The man looks back
in your direction, still holding his
hands in front of his waistband,
and immediately runs away from
you. “Make a Decision.”
You order the man to stop but he continues running, and while moving his right hand
from his waistband. In his hand you see a chrome handgun. “Make a Decision.”
You both give chase on foot while your partner immediately requests assisting units
and air support over the radio. The suspect continues running, ignoring your
commands, and flees into a
residential neighborhood.
“Make a Decision.”
You contain the northwest
corner of the block and direct
an assisting unit to set up a
command post. Your partner
contains the southwest
corner, keeping you in sight.
You now have three of four
sides of the block in sight.
Your partner sees the suspect
turn north and run into the
backyard of a residence.
“Make a Decision.”
You hear sirens in the background and know additional units will soon be arriving.
You direct them to the remaining containment spots that need to be covered. The
circling air support unit confirms you have a good containment. Canine units are
requested and arrive at your command post a short time later to begin their search.
While assisting the canine handler with the search, you open the gate and enter the
backyard where the suspect was last seen. The dog charges directly toward the dark corner of the yard where he
encounters and bites the
suspect, who is holding a
gun in his hand.
“Make a Decision.”
The canine handler orders
the suspect to drop the gun.
The suspect steadfastly
ignores his command.

Conclusion and Analysis
What would you have done in this incident? Would you have chased on foot or followed in your vehicle
utilizing its cover? Upon seeing the suspect in possession of a handgun, would you have chased to apprehend
or contain? Would you have chased the armed suspect into the backyard or chose to contain the block? Would
you have used deadly force at any time during this incident?
At the conclusion of this incident, the dog violently shook the suspect's arm, forcing him to drop the firearm. The
suspect ultimately fell to the ground and was handcuffed by the arrest team. During the subsequent search, a
second handgun was located in the suspect's front waistband.
The handling deputies utilized their training, experience, and resources to bring this dangerous situation to a
safe conclusion. The deputies' decision to chase the suspect to contain him, while continually monitoring his
actions and direction of travel was an effective tactic. The deputies weighed their options, and determined the
safest method of searching for the armed suspect was by using air support, additional units, and canine. In this
incident, the quick containment tactic, coupled with the use of canine, aided in the safe capture of the suspect
and prevented the need to use deadly force.
The panel agreed the deputies' choice of chasing to contain versus chasing to apprehend proved to be the safe
and preferred tactic.

= = = =
scenario seven
PSYCHO

MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Chase to Contain
Controlled Search
Cover/
Concealment
Request Backup
Stop Stick
Surveillance
Mode
Tactical
Movement
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Shotgun
Taser
Verbal
Commands
Use of
Deadly Force

At the beginning of your shift, you are in the locker room shining your badge and
putting on your uniform. Three miles away, two male parolees, both seasoned
criminals, are waiting in a vehicle in the mall parking lot hunting for a new victim.
Seated in the front passenger seat, “Psycho” is armed with a stolen handgun on his
lap. Their mindset is simple: Why work when you can point a gun in someone's face
and take what you want?
They see a lone pregnant
woman parking a new
Chrysler 300 in an unlit area
of the parking lot. She is
oblivious to her surroundings
until the suspects walk up
and put the cold steel barrel
of the pistol to her stomach.
Psycho demands the keys to
her car. She surrenders the
keys and finds herself alone
and trembling as she watches
the suspects steal her car.
Early in your shift you hear a radio
broadcast of a carjacking that just
occurred. Familiar with your beat,
you check a few local areas where
criminals are known to congregate.
Your instincts pay off when you see
the victim's car parked at the curb
with exhaust coming from the
tailpipe. “Make a Decision.”
You drive past the car and see both
suspects seated in the vehicle,
hoping they did not see you. You
radio for assistance and begin
coordinating units responding to your location. The suspects pull out onto the
boulevard before you finish coordinating resources. You maneuver behind the stolen
vehicle, update responding units and request air support. The suspects see you and
immediately speed away. “Make a Decision.”
You chase the suspects into a residential neighborhood as the helicopter overhead
takes radio control of the pursuit. The suspect's car abruptly skids to a stop in the
middle of the street and Psycho runs from the car. “Make a Decision.”
The air unit advises you of Psycho's location and direction of travel, and coordinates
the other units who detain the driver. You see Psycho run across a residential yard
and you jump out of your car to give chase on foot. As you advise by radio that you
are now in foot pursuit, the helicopter pilot advises that the suspect jumped over a
fence. Just as you're about to jump over the fence after him, you hear the pilot say,“Don't go over the fence! Don't go over the fence! He's got a shotgun!” You are eight feet from Psycho,
who is armed with a shotgun, with only a wood fence between you.


Conclusion and Analysis
When you first observed the vehicle, would you have attempted to contact, detain or call for assistance?
As the vehicle first fled, would you have initiated a vehicle pursuit? Would you have chased Psycho
when he exited the vehicle? If so, would you have chased to apprehend or contain? When the air unit
told you Psycho was armed with a shotgun, would you have continued your foot pursuit, shot through
the fence, or contained the yard?
In this incident, the pilot advised the deputy not to jump over the fence because the suspect was armed.
In response, the deputy took a tactical position at the corner of the house. Shortly thereafter, the deputy
heard a muffled pop followed by an air unit advisement that the suspect had just killed himself. Upon
the arrival of canine, the deputy formed an arrest team and made a tactical approach into the back yard,
confirming the suspect was dead.
It was the panel's position that air support was instrumental in coordinating the overall incident and
ensuring the safety of all deputies involved. The helicopter pilot provided ground units with real-time
updates and communicated potential dangers throughout the event. An aerial view of this event, in
conjunction with the deputies' disciplined tactics, provided a critical advantage in safely managing this
incident.

= = = = =

scenario eight G-Ride
MAKE A
DECISION
Consider
the Options:
Tactics
Chase to
Apprehend
Cover/
Concealment
Request Backup
Stop Stick
Surveillance
Mode
Tactical
Movement
Use of Radio
Wait for Backup
Resources
Aero Bureau
S.E.B. Canine
Unit
Coordinate
Resources
Fire Department/
Rescue
Force Options
AR-15
Duty Weapon
Flashlight
Handcuff
Pepper Spray
Shotgun
Verbal
Commands
Use of
Deadly Force

While on patrol you conduct a random license plate check of a Toyota minivan
traveling directly in front of you. The dispatcher advises the minivan is a recently
stolen vehicle from a neighboring city. “Make a Decision.”
You advise over the radio that you are following the stolen vehicle and request
additional units, to include air support. You continue to follow the stolen vehicle as
you wait for your resources. Within minutes two patrol units and a helicopter arrive,
and you proceed to coordinate a highrisk
traffic stop. You attempt to stop the
vehicle by turning on your overhead red
lights, but the driver of the stolen vehicle
accelerates in an obvious attempt to
elude you. “Make a Decision.”
You initiate a vehicle pursuit while the air
unit broadcasts your speed and direction
of travel. Two blocks into the pursuit, the
stolen vehicle drives into a residential
cul-de-sac and has nowhere to go.
“Make a Decision.”
You stop your radio car directly behind the minivan to conduct a high-risk felony stop
and exit, using your open door as cover. You verbally direct the driver to exit the
minivan, but he refuses. “Make a Decision.”
You consider the possibility that the suspect cannot hear you, so you reach for your
public address microphone. Suddenly the van's rear backup lights come on.
“Make a Decision.”
The van accelerates rapidly in reverse toward the front of your radio car.


Conclusion and Analysis
What would you have done once you confirmed the vehicle was stolen? What would you have
done when the suspect evaded you? What tactics would you have considered and employed as the
suspect turned into the cul-de-sac? Would you have coordinated a containment of the residential block?
Would you have held your position behind cover? Would you have fired at the suspect as he
accelerated in your direction? Would your bullets have stopped the threat? Should you have moved
away from the threat and reassessed the situation? What other resources would you have considered?
In this incident, the deputy fired his duty weapon at the suspect's vehicle in an attempt to protect himself
from this potential life-threatening encounter. The shooting was ineffective in stopping the suspect's
assaultive behavior as he rammed the deputy's vehicle several more times. The suspect maneuvered
his vehicle and attempted to drive out of the cul-de-sac, only to crash into a parked vehicle a few feet
away. The suspect subsequently surrendered to deputies.
Although the panel believed that the deputy was justified in using deadly force in this incident, the deputy
remained in the path of the suspect's vehicle, placing him at a tactical disadvantage. The Department's
current policy reads, “The use of firearms against moving vehicles is inherently dangerous and almost
always ineffective.”

= = = = = =


Findings and
Recommendations

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was formed in
1850. On January 23, 1857, Sheriff James Barton and three
members of his posse were murdered while pursuing a gang of
outlaws. All Sheriff Barton had to work with was his horse, a six shot
revolver, and his courage. Limited with only these tools, Sheriff
Barton had no other option but to chase to apprehend, as few other
choices existed. This practice changed in the late 1980s, when
development of hand-held radios allowed communication outside
our patrol car and changed the way we conducted business.
Throughout our Department's history, we have evolved, and are now
a leading law enforcement agency focusing on sound tactics,
continuous training, cutting edge technology, and advanced policies
and procedures.
The Department has developed and implemented policies governing a wide array of tactical
issues, including a thorough and comprehensive foot pursuit policy. The current foot pursuit policy is
sound, effective, and well thought-out. The policy was developed over the course of several years and
designed to provide for the safety of both the deputy and public, while taking into account the
Department's affirmative duty to provide for the protection of life and property. After a thorough analysis
of the Department's current foot pursuit policy, the panel concluded the policy proficiently addresses and
manages foot pursuits while providing for the safety of all concerned.
However, after careful examination, we found the practice of chasing to apprehend was a
Department culture that needed to be addressed. While every situation is not absolute, in many cases,
it may be safer to chase to contain rather than chase to apprehend. In support of this cultural change,
it is paramount that the Department provide the necessary training and resources to accomplish this
goal.
The evolution of law enforcement tactics and
technology has afforded us the opportunity to
broaden our options, which includes expanded use of
communications, tactics, canine, air support, and
advanced less-lethal options. The Department is now
working smarter and more efficiently when dealing with
the risks involved in apprehending fleeing suspects.
The practice of entering a yard, building, or other area
without adequate resources has been addressed
through improved training and tactical options, thus
reducing the likelihood of deadly force encounters.
This change has significantly increased the safety of
field deputies and the percentage of suspects located
within containments. However, the Department still
faces the challenge of overcoming the culture of
chasing to apprehend, when chasing to contain may be
a more appropriate, safer alternative depending on the
circumstances.

Master Field Training Officer Insignia(see image)


Based on these findings, the panel recommends the following be implemented for Los Angeles County
Sheriff's Department personnel:
1. All field personnel receive updated training in tactical options for foot pursuits and
current related topics in order to change the predominate culture of chasing to
apprehend. The Department's foot pursuit policy, which is comprehensive and effective
in addressing foot pursuit situations, should be presented through frequent briefings
and conspicuously posted throughout the Department's digital briefing boards.
2. When a critical incident occurs (e.g., foot pursuits, deputy involved shootings), the watch
commander at that unit will ensure a tactical briefing, similar to an operations log entry,
be created to immediately identify significant training points related to public safety, deadly
force encounters, and foot pursuits. These topics should be fact-based and encourage open
dialog. The prompt dissemination of information throughout the Department will keep field
deputies informed of tactical issues encountered by personnel throughout the Department.
3. Canine Detail should develop updated training curriculum for field personnel. The training
should be designed to enhance the level of knowledge related to the deployment of canine
and tactics surrounding containments, which will assist in changing the culture of how we
apprehend fleeing suspects during foot pursuits.
4. Canine Detail should evaluate their staffing needs and deployment configuration to
maximize the use of canine resources, while accommodating the needs of all Sheriff's
stations. The reduction of canine response and deployment times to containment
locations will enable patrol units to return to their patrol duties without excessive delay
or impact to station operations.
5. Maximize Aero Bureau's availability in order to provide adequate coverage for all station
areas, enhancing officer safety and the apprehension of fleeing suspects.
6. Field personnel should take the initiative to train frequently with their firearms and
maintain a physical fitness conditioning regiment. They should mentally rehearse,
discuss, and practice situational “what if” scenarios regularly.
7. The threat assessment trailers equipped with the shoot, don't shoot video scenarios
should be accessible and utilized for training on a regular basis.
8. The findings of the Executive Force Review Committee Panel should be disseminated to
Department personnel, for their educational benefit and professional development.
In the process of gathering information for this book, it became apparent that training and tactics must keep
pace with technology, resources, and current crime trends. The findings and recommendations made by this
panel will appreciably enhance the safety for all involved in the handling of foot pursuits and other rapidly
evolving, dynamic tactical situations.


The Ten
FATAL ERRORS
Ten Fatal Errors that contribute to the deaths of law
enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

1. Your Attitude
Maintain a positive will-to-survive attitude.
Do not allow outside distractions to affect
your performance.

2. Tombstone Courage
No one doubts that you are
brave, but in every situation
where time allows, wait for
backup.

3. Enough Rest
To do your job safely, you must remain alert and focused.
Be well rested for your shift.

4. Taking a Bad Position
There is no such thing as a routine call or stop.
Always position yourself, or your vehicle, so as
to have the tactical advantage.

5. Danger Signs Recognize red flags and danger signs and react to them.
Trust your instincts.

6. Failure to Watch the Hands
It is the hands that kill; control them!

7. Relaxing Too Soon
Always be alert and observant.
The routine can become life threatening in seconds.

8. Improper Use of Handcuffs
Once the decision is made to handcuff,
use safe tactics and proper cuffing technique.


9. No Search or Poor Search
There are so many places a suspect can hide weapons.
Your failure to search properly will be used against you
and your fellow deputies. Many criminals carry several
weapons and are prepared to
use them against you.


10. Dirty or Inoperative Weapon
Maintain your equipment in good working order
and be proficient with your weapon skills.
What is the sense of carrying your
weapon if it does not work or
you are not proficient in the
use of that weapon?


In MEMORIAM
In 1857, the first three Sheriff's deputies were killed. Since then a total of
ninety-four deputies have lost their lives in the line of duty. This publication is
dedicated to the memory of the fifty-two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies
who lost their lives in the line of duty as a result of gunfire.

Sheriff James R. Barton .....................................End of Watch 01-23-1857
Deputy Charles T. Daly ......................................End of Watch 01-23-1857
Deputy William H. Little ......................................End of Watch 01-23-1857
Deputy Charles C. Baker ...................................End of Watch 01-23-1857
Deputy William C. Getmen .................................End of Watch 01-07-1858
Deputy George L. Wilson ...................................End of Watch 01-08-1897
Deputy Michael Van Vliet ...................................End of Watch 11-20-1918
Deputy Henry J. Ronsse ....................................End of Watch 01-02-1922
Deputy William E. Funkhouser ...........................End of Watch 05-14-1922
Deputy Robery E. Magee ...................................End of Watch 11-20-1923
Deputy C.A. Vejar ...............................................End of Watch 11-12-1932
Deputy John Hedge ...........................................End of Watch 09-12-1933
Sergeant Fred P. Guiol .......................................End of Watch 03-10-1946
Deputy Harold S. Blevins ...................................End of Watch 10-12-1957
Deputy David A. Horr .........................................End of Watch 02-09-1958
Lieutenant Donald J. Gillis .................................End of Watch 09-20-1958
Deputy Ronald E. Ludlow ...................................End of Watch 08-13-1965
Deputy Michael V. Wigderson ............................End of Watch 03-20-1967
Deputy Louis C. Wallace ....................................End of Watch 12-08-1970
Deputy Gary D. Saunders ..................................End of Watch 05-22-1971
Deputy Barry J. Hoffman ....................................End of Watch 08-30-1971
Deputy Donald W. Schneider .............................End of Watch 01-04-1973
Deputy Carl E. Wilson ........................................End of Watch 01-04-1973
Deputy David E. Andrews ..................................End of Watch 12-12-1973
Deputy Darren Hollis ..........................................End of Watch 01-01-1975
Deputy Didier M. Hurdle .....................................End of Watch 11-25-1977
Deputy Arthur E. Pelino ......................................End of Watch 03-19-1978
Deputy Thomas H. Pohlman ..............................End of Watch 04-18-1978
Deputy George R. Barthel ..................................End of Watch 04-19-1979
Deputy Jack D. Williams ....................................End of Watch 05-29-1979
Deputy Constance E. Worland ...........................End of Watch 05-02-1981
Deputy Kenneth D. Ell ........................................End of Watch 01-19-1982
Deputy Lawrence Lavieri ....................................End of Watch 03-19-1983
Sergeant Larrell K. Smith ...................................End of Watch 04-16-1983
Deputy David L. Holguin ....................................End of Watch 09-05-1984
Sergeant George L. Arthur .................................End of Watch 06-01-1985
Deputy Charles R. Anderson ..............................End of Watch 01-24-1987
Deputy Jack B. Miller .........................................End of Watch 01-09-1988
Deputy Nelson H. Yamamoto .............................End of Watch 03-31-1992
Deputy Richard B. Hammack .............................End of Watch 05-11-1992
Deputy Stephen W. Blair ....................................End of Watch 05-12-1995
Deputy Antranik Geuvjehizian ............................End of Watch 07-19-1995
Deputy Shayne D. York ......................................End of Watch 08-16-1997
Deputy Michael L. Hoenig ..................................End of Watch 10-30-1997
Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian .........................End of Watch 08-31-2001
Deputy David W. March .....................................End of Watch 04-29-2002
Deputy David A. Powell ......................................End of Watch 11-30-2002
Deputy Stephen D. Sorensen ............................End of Watch 08-02-2003
Deputy Michael R. Arruda ..................................End of Watch 06-15-2004
Deputy Jerry Ortiz ..............................................End of Watch 06-24-2005
Deputy Maria C. Rosa ........................................End of Watch 03-28-2006
Deputy Juan A. Escalante ..................................End of Watch 08-02-2008


= = = = = = = =

Acknowledgements:
The Panel
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Paul Cardella
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Mario Castaneda
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Jeff Curran
Master Field Training Officer Deputy James Delgadillo
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Phil Geisler
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Steven Harbeson
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Troy Jackson
Master Field Training Officer Deputy James Jordon
Master Field Training Officer Deputy David Kluth
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Frank Lobato
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Kenneth Mort
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Marc Richardson
Master Field Training Officer Deputy John Savay
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Michael Sellers
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Jack Smith
Master Field Training Officer Deputy Louis Vigil
____
Assistant Sheriff Paul K. Tanaka
Captain James Thornton Jr.
Lieutenant Merrill Ladenheim
Lieutenant Steven McLean
Sergeant John Kepley
Sergeant Douglas Mohrhoff
Sergeant Steve Strange
Senior Management Secretary IV Sue Bissman
Graphic Arts Specialist Sandra Enslow, SHB
Graphic Arts Specialist Ignacio Mendoza, SHB
Video Production Specialist Eric King
Sergeant Edward Elliot, NCCF
Deputy Barry Ellsworth, NCCF
Vocational Workshop Instructor Kathy M. Ordway, NCCF
Vocational Workshop Instructor Hernan Cruz, NCCF
Teacher Don Lynn, Hacienda La Puente School Disrict, NCCF
Teacher Pat O'Brien, Hacienda La Puente School Disrict, NCCF
Teacher Jim Peterson, Hacienda La Puente School Disrict, NCCF

Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department
4700 Ramona Boulevard,
Monterey Park, California 91754
www.lasd.org
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