Police recruits attend their graduation ceremony at LAPD headquarters where rappers Snoop Dogg and the Game led a peaceful demonstration outside on July 8, 2016.

The Los Angeles Police Department says it will create a program to assist the families of people killed during encounters with policeā€”the first of its kind in the nationā€”reports the Los Angeles Times.

The program will be called the Family Liaison Program, and the LAPD said itsĀ goal is to foster better communication with loved ones in the devastating aftermath of death by police or while in police custody.

The LAPDā€™s investigations into police shootings usually take several months to complete before the Police Commission reviews each case to determine whether officers followed department rules. Relatives of those killed often express frustration with those timelines.

Police Commission President Matt Johnson saidĀ that relatives of people fatally shot by LAPD officers often attend the commissionā€™s weekly meetings looking for answers. These requests include wanting to see dashcam or body-cam footageĀ as well as more mundane asks like getting access to documents such as death certificates or police reportsā€”sometimes for peace of mind, but sometimes because insurance companies require them.


ā€œA lot of it is ā€˜I canā€™t bury my childā€™ because they donā€™t have a death certificate,ā€ Johnson said. ā€œThis will give them a specific point of contact.ā€

Johnson cautioned that the LAPD would still not be able to share certain information with the families because of the ā€œconfidential natureā€ of the investigations into such incidents, and that would most likely include video.


But Johnson explained that a formal liaison could explain how the deaths are investigated and the role of the district attorneyā€™s office and even the coronerā€™s office.

ā€œThese deaths, no matter what the circumstances, are tragic for the deceasedā€™s loved ones, friends and community,ā€ said Johnson at Tuesdayā€™s meeting. ā€œI believe that there is more we can and should do.ā€


The Times reports that on-duty LAPD officers have shot and killed 14 people so far this year.Ā Last year, on-duty LAPD officers shot 36 people, 21 of whom were killed.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.