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Opinion

Opinion: If the LAPD wants the public’s trust, it needs to be more transparent

LAPD, L.A. Police Commission
Police Commission President Matt Johnson, right, and Vice President Steve Soboroff listen to a speaker at a meeting last fall.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I empathize with Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and his officers, who are reluctant to quickly release information and videos taken of police shootings. As imperfect human beings, none of us appreciates being exposed to intense public scrutiny. (“L.A. Police Commission approves proposals to increase transparency, training for how LAPD officers use force,” Oct. 11) 

On the other hand, L.A.’s finest should learn from examples set by departments in cities like Las Vegas, where officers quickly post information about shootings online. 

First, bad things grow in the dark, and you can’t set a behavioral standard without oversight. Second, transparency breeds public confidence in the department. Opening up will create more support for genuine peace officers, who will then be reassured that the public has their back. 

Eric Foxman, West Hills 

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To the editor: It is important to increase transparency, but it is more important to stop the horrific shootings of police and others in the first place. 

One way to do this is to provide more adequate protection of police in the field. Police must have full body coverage, as used in protest confrontations. Police cars must be made bulletproof. When police investigate a call reporting a dangerous individual in a home, full body coverage must be in place before knocking on that door. 

At a traffic stop, officers protected by full body coverage would be able to confront a person who seemed to have a weapon and investigate, because the police would be protected and not be in a life threatening situation. 

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What is the alternative? More police lives lost? The unnecessary killings of victims who may be mentally ill or disoriented in some way? More street protests? We must find another way.

Royce Daniels, Laguna Hills

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