The Los Angeles Police Commission approved a new policy Tuesday that requires LAPD officers to more carefully document instances in which people give them permission to search them on the street.
In the past, an officer could search a person, their vehicle or their belongings — regardless of whether they had reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed or probable cause to make an arrest — if that person verbally consented to the search or gave “implied consent” through their actions or gestures.
Under the new policy, which the commission unanimously approved, officers can still conduct so-called “consent searches,” but only after securing proof of that consent — either by capturing the person giving their consent on body-worn video or by getting the person to sign off on a written consent form.
The policy also states that as a matter of best practice, officers should make clear — including verbally on their body-worn video if possible — the reason they are conducting the search, what they are searching for, where they are searching, what if anything they discover and where those items were found.
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