Los Angeles police union leaders excoriated LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Thursday for his announcement that the department would offer a “Preservation of Life” award to officers who hold their fire in order to avoid using deadly force.
The Los Angeles Times, chortling, “We heartily approve,” lauded Beck’s award, which he announced on Tuesday.
The Times reported that the award was inspired a recent incident in which Metro officers confronting a man brandishing a sawed-off shotgun subdued him by wrestling him to the ground.
But the Los Angeles Police Protective League furiously responded that the award prioritizes the lives of suspected criminals over the lives of officers, according to Southern California Public Radio.
Their statement argued that police are already trained to hold their fire if possible, and the award will enable criminals to have an advantage when a confrontation with police occurs.
The statement added that police already feel “increasingly threatened” due to the anti-police atmosphere pervading the country, and officers will be killed as a result of the award.
In 2010, NATO briefly considered a similar proposition. British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter proposed recognizing troops for “courageous restraint” if they eschewed avoided using deadly force.
Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis stated, “The idea is consistent with our approach. Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”
The top NATO commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, reviewed the “courageous restraint” proposal, but the idea was never implemented.
At the time, Rush Limbaugh joked that the award for “courageous restraint” would have to be granted “posthumously.”