Sunday 6 February 2022

LAPD to Limit ‘Minor’ Traffic Stops to ‘Eliminate Bias’


Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore has announced a new policy that limits traffic stops for “minor infractions” to “eliminate bias.”

Police are now being encouraged to only pull drivers over if they are suspected of more serious crimes, including “street racing, burglary, hit-and-runs, and narcotics possession,” according to a letter from Moore obtained by Fox News.

“It is the Department’s policy that pretextual stops shall not be conducted unless officers are acting upon articulable information in addition to the traffic violation, which may or may not amount to reasonable suspicion, regarding a serious crime (i.e. a crime with potential for great bodily injury or death),” the new policy states.

The policy also says that “decisions should not be based on a mere hunch or on generalized characteristics such as a person’s race, gender, age, homeless circumstance or presence in a high-crime location.”

The letter claims that community members believe that pretextual stops for minor violations to investigate other crimes “are arbitrary, capricious and a reflection of an individual’s implicit or explicit bias(es).”

The letter uses missing license plates as an example of “minor” violations that officers should pay “less attention to.”

Fox reports, “To ‘eliminate bias’ within the LAPD and among its officers, the Department ‘seeks to hone the focus of its traffic enforcement and crime prevention strategies … while also strengthening trust and improving community relations,’ the letter states, adding that ‘less attention’ should be given to ‘vehicle equipment violations,’ such as a missing license plate.”

“The days of proactive policing — of actually going out there, showing high visibility, doing traffic stops, doing pedestrian stops, looking for suspicious behavior, looking for small vehicle code violations that could possibly lead to discovering a gun in the car — those days are going to be gone now,” a unnamed source close to the LAPD told the news outlet.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), a union representing the city’s officers, is not pleased with the new policy.

“The premise … for a policy that would dramatically limit and, in many instances, eliminate traffic stops doesn’t make a lot of sense if you want a safer Los Angeles,” LAPPL spokesperson Tom Saggau said. “Last year there [were] close to 8,100 guns that were booked into evidence in Los Angeles, and many of those weapons were had as a result of car stops.”

Saggu noted that the murder rate in Los Angeles is up 50 percent since 2019 and shootings are up more than 50 percent during the same time frame.

“If I’m an officer and I pull a car over and it happens to be a person of color, am I going to want to get jammed up and disciplined because I am enforcing the law? What this memo and the various discussions don’t say is every one of those pretextual stops is legal and lawful,” he continued.

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