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Can LAPD’s proposed ‘Family Liaison Program’ bridge the communication gap?

by AirTalk®

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Detective Michael Morlan of LAPD speaks to a citizen. LAPD has proposed what is thought to be the nation's first Family Liaison Program. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

In an effort to create a dialogue between LAPD and the families of those who have been fatally shot or died while in police custody, the police department has proposed what is thought to be the nation’s first Family Liaison Program.  

Police Commission President Matt Johnson said the program will provide families with an official point of contact for obtaining documents, including death certificates and other record required by insurance companies.

Some, including LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, think the program will help guide families through investigations, but others, including Black Lives Matter protester Ebony Fay, see the program’s development differently. “What that says to me really is that you're planning for there to be more of that – more death and more killings,” Fay told KPCC.

The Family Liaison program has not yet been implemented, but police commissioners proposed hiring two liaisons to formalize conversations that would explain the investigation process to families. Commissioners announced the proposal yesterday at a nearly empty boardroom inside the LAPD headquarters while Black Lives Matters protesters cried for Mayor Eric Garcetti to fire Chief Beck.

Do you think this new program will alleviate tension between families and the police department?


Frank Stoltze, KPCC correspondent who covers criminal justice and public safety issues; he tweets from  @StoltzeFrankly

Eugene O’Donnell, Professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; former NYPD officer; former prosecutor in Kings County, New York  

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