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Report disputes rationale for rise in LAPD shootings

Police Chief Charlie Beck says more officers are firing their weapons because more are being attacked

By PoliceOne Staff

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department's watchdog group is challenging the notion that officer-involved shootings are on the rise because more officers are being attacked.

Last year, the department saw a 50 percent increase in officer-involved shootings, which Police Chief Charlie Beck has linked to a similar spike — 22 percent — in assaults on officers.

In a report, inspector general for the Police Commission Alex Bustamante argues the system for counting both types of incidents is flawed. He said it inflates attacks on officers and under-represents officers who fired their weapons.

"When a suspect shot at police from inside a house in April 2011, the department counted 16 assaults on officers and one officer-involved shooting even though 15 officers fired their weapons," according to the Los Angeles Times.

"When Bustamante recalculated last year's assault total to count the number of incidents instead of officers involved, he counted 106 attacks—a 45 percent drop from the department's total. He also found that the number of assaults on officers remained about even from 2010 to 2011."

The report concluded there is "no clear correlation" between shootings and assaults.

Beck stands by the idea that some type of relationship exists.

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