LAPD Officials Promise Review of Tech-Based Policing Methods

LOS ANGELES (CN) – After months of pressure from police accountability advocates, the Los Angeles Police Department will review its use of data and technology-driven policing methods.

The Board of Police Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to audit LAPD’s predictive policing programs Predpol, Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration program (LASER), and the Suspicious Activity Program (SAR).

Commissioner Shane Murphy Goldsmith introduced the motion, which was backed by outgoing Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill.

Goldsmith said the audit will review the effectiveness of the programs and determine what impact they’ve had specifically on communities of color in Los Angeles.

Some of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country use so-called predictive policing programs to forecast where and when crime will occur in their communities.

Departments also use crime data, gathered from algorithm-based and artificial intelligence-driven technologies, to determine which individuals are most likely to commit or recommit crimes.

Those technologies, while seen by police as objective tools, have come under scrutiny by advocates.

At the commissioners meeting Tuesday, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition member Hamid Kahn said the programs give police a “license” to profile based on race and anything short of dismantling the programs would be “smoke and mirrors.”

The coalition’s May 8 report on the programs, “Before the Bullet Hits the Body,” found predictive policing makes it easier for police to justify stopping and searching people in the community.

“This is a dangerous perversion and weaponization of ‘responsible suspicion,’” the report said.

Data on 484,000 pedestrians stopped and questioned by LAPD officers between July 2012 and June 2014 revealed that officers stopped black and Latino residents 33 percent and 46 percent of the time, respectively, while white residents were only stopped 17 percent of the time, according to the report.

Read the entire story featuring grantee Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.

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