The LAPD is looking for input on how they should handle the release of body camera footage. NBC News reports that the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners as well as police Chief Charlie Beck will seek community input on the matter through a series of community forums around Los Angeles. A questionnaire (available online or on paper) will also take people's opinions on how footage should be treated in the wake of an incident.
Currently, departmental policy states that they will not release any footage obtained unless asked to do so for a trial or by order of a court.
Last year, the City Council approved a $59 million plan to equip the LAPD with body cameras, and the department says they plan on issuing them to all patrol officers by the end of 2017.
"As we move forward with the final acquisition of body-worn cameras for all patrol officers to utilize by the end of this year, my fellow police commissioners and I want to provide the public the opportunity to participate by providing their perspectives and expectations,'' Police Commission President Matthew Johnson said.
Many have applauded the use of body cameras, citing evidence from other jurisdictions that already have a body camera program in place. For example, Rialto, which issued body cameras to its officers in 2012 resulted in an 88% decrease in complaints against officers and a 60% decline in the use of force according to PoliceOne.com an online advocacy group.