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“Last year, as the number of police shootings soared, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck [above] repeatedly gave his bosses and the public an explanation: Officers were discharging their weapons more because they were coming under attack more,” latimes.comreports. “He bolstered his assertion with LAPD statistics that showed an increase in the number of assaults on officers.” Yes, well, “Alex Bustamante, the inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission, which oversees the LAPD, scrutinized the 2011 assault and shooting figures in a report he will present to the commission Tuesday. In the report, he challenged the way the LAPD tallies assaults on officers, suggesting it is misleading.” Ya think? How’s this for statistical manipulation . . .

Attacks on officers are tallied based on the number of officers present when assaults occur. By contrast, the department counts an officer-involved shooting as a single event regardless of how many officers open fire. In an incident in April 2011, for example, in which a suspect shot at police from inside a house, the LAPD counted 16 assaults on officers and one officer-involved shooting, despite the fact that 15 officers fired their weapons.

When Bustamante recalculated last year’s assault total to count the number of incidents instead of officers, he counted 106 attacks — a 45% drop from the department’s total. And, instead of a double-digit increase that Beck had contended, Bustamante said the number of assaults was actually about even from 2010 to 2011.

Funny how that worked out.

As we’re taking a close look at the Chief’s inflationary data dump, how about we define terms? What, for example, constitutes an “assault” on a police officer?

A study of 9700 officers by the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance (reported by the Force Science Institute) revealed that “about 7% of officers were exposed to blood borne pathogens–63% of those via direct physical contact, 25% through spitting, and 12% from needle sticks.”

Do the LA po-po’s bean counters consider spitting on an officer an assault?

It was not clear from the report what kind of danger the officers faced in each attack. Other than briefly mentioning the April incident, in which one officer was shot in the jaw and the others traded fire with the suspect, Bustamante did not discuss the details of any attack.

Lesson learned: if you’re a police chief looking for sympathy (i.e. funding and free reign) stats are your friend. Just don’t get caught in the data massage parlor.

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  1. Does this mean that the draconian gun control laws in the PRK are actually working?

    • HA! Beck is one of the chief proponents of “more guns = more crime”, and uses these inflated stats as a basis for “factually” supporting his near universal rejection of CCW permit applications. [They’ve got a cute system set up. In most counties, the Sheriff issues, but cities, including LA, also have the power to issue. The LA County Sheriff requires applicants from LA City limits to first apply to Beck (who will of course deny for lack of good cause), and the Sheriff will use that “prior denial” (which must be disclosed on the application) as grounds for denial of a county-issued permit.] As of September 2011, LA Police had issued 13 civilian CCWs for the entire city, and LACSD had issued 151 for the whole county, out of 7.5 million residents.

  2. Give the chief credit for at least fudging his own stats instead of jumping on the Compstat bandwagon.With Compstat you’re not assaulted when a guy pulls a gun on you, unless he shoots.

  3. Robert, unless you meant “free reign” to mean free rule, “rein” is the proper use. (Funny and ironic with the first usage, on the side of the grammar gods with the second.)

    In any event, thanks to civilian oversight of the police for more transparency.

  4. Nice example for the Chief to set for the troops, but then, didn’t we cover this topic somewhat yesterday when we were talking about trials and truthfulness and justice?

  5. Attacks on officers are tallied based on the number of officers present when assaults occur.

    Well, at least they’re consistent. Think about the case of the abuse victim wife who shot past her abusive husband to back him off. Because her two (three?) kids were nearby they charged her with three (four?) counts of ag assault, even though they weren’t in the same room.

  6. Also LAPD policy is that you don’t even have to see a weapon. Any gesture that could be interpreted as reaching for a weapon (i.e. “Reaching for your waistband” ) is probable cause to shoot. Basically a department wide C.Y.A. that enables them to rule any shooting, under any circumstances, 100% justified.

  7. Apparently “assault on a Government Robot” means failure to grovel with sufficient enthusiasm – a crime punishable by death.

    Wouldn’t “Oberfuehrer der Reichsgau Kriminalpolizei” be a more appropriate title for Herr Beck?

    “Does this mean that the draconian gun control laws in the PRK are actually working?”
    Isn’t the official name DEMOKRATIK Peoples’ Republik of Kalifornia? After all it is the Demokrat Partei which rules that Reichsstadt. Heil Obama!!

  8. Every time I see chief Beck on TV he is defending his fellow police thugs & lying about what is or is not a crime. He usually stands next to that greasy looking slimeball Villagrossa. Get a clue Beck. Sometimes you are better off keeping your mouth shut. Instead, let that know it all slimy greasy looking Villagrossa do the talking. Better yet put some distance between yourself and the megalomaniac Villagrossa.

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