Photo courtesy TASER International.
Photo courtesy TASER International.

Just when should police show the public video of controversial officer actions, including incidents that lead to suspect deaths?

Members of the Los Angeles civilian body overseeing the Los Angeles Police Department have decided to seek outside expert help in coming up with answers to that question, and the first of a number of hearings to take public testimony will be held Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Police Commission has retained the Policing Project at New York University School of Law to gather public input into a new policy regarding the release of body-worn camera video.

The Policing Project will be working with professors and students at UCLA’s and UC Irvine’s schools of law to compile the public input and report back to the commission, officials said.

The Police Commission has provided three ways to give input on this hot- button issue. People can go to www.lapdvideo.org and fill out a questionnaire in either English or Spanish. They can also upload detailed comments at that site on what they believe the new policy should be, or provide public testimony at one of the community forums scheduled for this month. These include:

— Wednesday, April 12, 6:30 p.m. at Seoul Recreation Center, 3250 San Marino St., Los Angeles.

— Thursday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. at ONE Generation Senior Enrichment Center, 18255 Victory Blvd., Reseda.

— Saturday, April 22 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Pico House, located at 424 N. Main St., Los Angeles.

There will also be a public forum in the LAPD’s South Bureau area on Wednesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m., but that location has not yet been announced.

All comments must be delivered to the Police Commission by May 7.

The City Council enacted a $59 million plan last June to equip more than 7,000 patrol officers with body cameras by the end of this year. As of March 22, 2,794 cameras have been deployed, according to officials.

The use of body cameras has become a prominent issue as the focus on police shootings has grown nationally, and the LAPD has said it hopes the cameras will help build more public trust in the department.

But while it is seeking to build trust, the department has been criticized by some for not releasing the videos publicly except in response to a court order.

— Staff and wire reports

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