The Police Commission—the civilian board that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department—announced Tuesday that it’s considering placing new restrictions on alcohol consumption by armed, off-duty officers after accusations that some cops have recklessly used their side arms while imbibing during their down time.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the commissioners are also requesting a report from the LAPD on the issue in the wake of an article examining the department’s lack of a cohesive alcohol policy while other large departments, such as Orange County, San Francisco, and New York, more closely restrict or ban off-duty officers from drinking while armed.
“No one wants anyone using a firearm while impaired,” commission president Eileen Decker tells the paper. “A more specific policy—the time may have come for that.”
Decker added that the report should include “factual incidents involving the excessive use of alcohol and the use of a weapon or firearm” by LAPD officers, as well as a “comparative analysis” of alcohol policies from other U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Incidents cited by the Times include the case of Nicolas Quintanilla-Borja, a probationary LAPD officer accused of threatening to shoot his cousin and another man while “significantly” impaired in Inglewood last month; an incident involving an LAPD detective who allegedly shot a homeless man on Skid Row in 2019 after drinking in downtown bars; and a 2020 incident in which a cop allegedly shot his friend while target shooting and drinking when he became convinced that they were under attack.
An LAPD rep told the Times that the department already has policies in place against “unbecoming” behavior by off-duty cops and that LAPD bosses “have and will hold our personnel accountable should they misuse alcohol and cannot exercise reasonable care and/or control of a firearm.”
At Tuesday’s virtual commission meeting, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said that armed cops getting drunk off-duty is “a very serious matter and one we pay a great deal of attention to,” but he insisted that LAPD officers who’ve caused trouble while intoxicated have been met with “swift and certain” consequences.
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