The Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday will consider a new rule that specifically prohibits off-duty officers from being armed while disabled by alcohol.
A police commission is set to vote on a policy that “alcoholic beverages must not be consumed to the extent of causing disability,” with the exception of banning officers from carrying firearms while intoxicated.
The LAPD declined to comment on the reasons for the proposed rule change or whether there are other rules limiting alcohol use by off-duty police officers. The Police Protection League also did not respond.
In a memo, Chief Executive Michelle Moore urged the commissioner to approve the rule change, saying, “An employee’s good judgment and physical skills in handling firearms can often be significantly impaired by addiction. and can endanger public safety and the safety of our employees and their loved ones.”
There have been numerous alcohol-related incidents involving off-duty police officers in recent years, but few published results.
In December, the ministry warned officers to stop drinking and driving after seven off-duty police officers were arrested in the first two weeks of the month alone.
In 2020, a group of police officers drinking whiskey after hours at a campground in San Bernardino County opened fire in the middle of the night, injuring a police officer with serious neck injuries.
In 2019, an armed off-duty detective was involved in a brawl and shot a homeless man on Skid Row after leaving a party at a bar. Detective Michael Johnson had his gun stolen during an altercation, and Moore later publicly said he expected Johnson to be fired.
Instead, the Rights Commission issued a 55-day suspension, which Johnson is challenging in court. A hearing in his case is scheduled for May.
According to the LAPD’s 2021 and 2022 disciplinary action, only three police officers have received serious penalties for alcohol-related incidents, including arrests for off-duty drunk driving. However, discipline reporting is an imperfect accounting treatment. Because public misconduct reports are sanitized by the ministry to remove identifying information and only the most serious cases are included.