Matt Johnson, Acclaimed Reformer, is Leaving the Los Angeles Police Commission
Three years after he was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Commission, Matt Johnson says it’s time to say goodbye. The widely respected police commissioner is stepping down to spend more time with his family. He leaves in his wake a legacy of key reforms at the Los Angeles Police Department.
All patrol officers are now armed with Tasers, which they can use to subdue a suspect before resorting to deadly force. Beanbag shotguns, which serve a similar purpose, are now mounted on the front seat of every patrol car.
Police officers who shoot at suspects are now judged on de-escalation — whether they did everything they could to prevent a deadly confrontation. They can be disciplined if they fall short.
In a major reversal, the LAPD decided this year to make dashboard and body camera videos of police shootings public within 45 days of the incident.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said Johnson was the mind and muscle behind most of those improvements. The commissioner also said he is proud of the work he’s accomplished, noting that officer-involved shootings in the city are down 30%.
Johnson came in at a time of national upheaval, shortly after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferugson, Missouri.
“In his three years on the commission, Johnson accomplished as much as most people do in “six, seven, eight years,” said Police Commission President Steve Soboroff.