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Media Relations Regarding Officer-Involved Shootings

NCJ Number
D Mozee
Date Published
24 pages
Guidelines for police relations with the media following an officer-involved shooting are discussed.
Under the immediacy of public reaction to a questionable officer-involved shooting, the mass media press for an immediate judgment by the department as to whether or not the shooting was proper. The spokesperson for the department should resist any statement of opinion that would justify or accuse the officer in the shooting. The known general circumstances of the shooting should simply be acknowledged and the press informed that the shooting will be investigated like any other incident where a crime has possibly been committed. All legal and policy judgments about the incident should be the product of the decisionmaking of appropriate legal or administrative bodies after a thorough investigation. In the case of an administrative hearing, the results of the hearing should be reported to the press. All statements to the press should be prepared in advance so as to be concise and accurate. Since the statement should say all that the department spokesperson intends to say, there should be no dialog with the media. All statements issued by the department should be issued by a single spokesperson, so as to eliminate conflicting statements.