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The police chief's thoughts on SWAT

To the editor: Regarding the recent Times’ editorial, the Los Angeles Police Department agrees with the American Civil Liberties Union that the lines between municipal law enforcement and the U.S. military cannot be blurred. The two are clearly distinct in existence and purpose. (“SWAT overkill,” Editorial, June 25)

In Los Angeles, civilian oversight coupled with a focused and precise mission, policies and procedures ensure that LAPD SWAT operations are reserved for those circumstances that require its unique tactics.

In 2013, less than 1% of all search warrants were served by the LAPD’s SWAT team.

The SWAT teams were never intended to be an arm of narcotics squads for the routine service of search warrants, and in Los Angeles, that remains our practice.

Ensuring public safety in today’s world does demand that law enforcement, including specialized tactical teams, capitalize on state-of-the-art technology, equipment and training.

The adoption of advanced technology and equipment can provide for a safer community with effective civilian oversight and a properly defined mission and purpose.

In the city of Los Angeles, SWAT teams and their specialized equipment operate under those conditions each day.

Charlie Beck, Los Angeles

The writer is the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion  

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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