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Sheriff Baca to announce new policy meant to reduce violent confrontations between deputies, suspects

February 17, 2010 | 10:59 am

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a57a6216970b-320wiIn response to an increase in fatal shootings by L.A. County sheriff's deputies, Sheriff Lee Baca today will announce a revised policy aimed at reducing violent confrontations between deputies and suspects.

Under the new policy, deputies will be encouraged to contain suspects and wait for back up rather than immediately confronting and attempting to arrest them.

"When dealing with a perceived armed suspect, sworn members shall be cautiously persistent in performing their duties,” the policy states. “Consistent with this philosophy, while every situation is not absolute, in many cases, it may be safer to chase to contain rather than chase to apprehend.”

The policy change is important because it is a key factor in how the department decides whether a deputy acted appropriately during a shooting.

Deputies fatally shot 16 people in 2009 compared to nine in 2008.

The new containment approach stems from an expert panel Baca convened in September to address what deputies should do if a person they believe is armed runs from them.

That panel of veteran training officers was convened after a series of much-publicized deputy-involved shootings during chases. One of those killings involved a deputy shooting a 36-year unarmed man through a gate during a foot pursuit.

The man, it was later learned, was not the robbery suspect deputies were seeking. The new deadly-force policy will be announced later today by Baca.

According to a copy of the proposed policy change, it is intended to keep deputies from placing themselves in harm's way or putting anyone else in jeopardy.

--Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Sheriff Lee Baca Credit: Los Angeles Times

Browse the Times' Homicide Report map to learn more about fatal officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles County since January 2007.

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