[ ...current policy calls for police to open fire from a helicopter if a suspect in a violent crime poses an “extreme officer safety concern” and is on terrain that gives them a significant advantage, creating a situation in which “normal tactics would be ineffective.”
In the Sunland shooting, officers on the ground and in the air fired on the suspect, who had broken into a home, Police Chief Charlie Beck has previously said. It appears the suspect was fatally struck by gunfire from the air, Beck has said. Fatal police shooting in Sunland marks first time LAPD fires from helicopter
The decision to open fire airborne is made at high levels, Girmala said. In the May 8 case, Beck said an assistant chief discussed the matter with him before taking action. On Tuesday, Girmala said the “incident commander” at the scene of such a situation can also wave off the intervention of officers in the air.
Girmala’s comments were met with some criticism from attendees at the hearing, some of whom argued that use of force from helicopters could serve as a pretext to the increased use of helicopters for surveillance, or the deployment of drones by Los Angeles police. ]