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Officer-Involved Shooting Investigations

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 56 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2008 Pages: 53-58
Kris Pitcher; Paul Hernandez III
Date Published
June 2008
6 pages
This article describes how the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) currently conducts use-of-force investigations pursuant to strict investigative protocols that are transparent, externally mandated, and internally developed so as to produce trustworthy, timely, and professional investigations.
As a result of the Federal Consent Decree agreed upon by the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Los Angeles, the LAPD is mandated to comply with specific investigative measures when conducting critical force-related investigations. Investigators are required to record all interviews with witnesses, suspects, and officers at a time and place convenient for them. These transcribed interviews are the basis for the final summary of the use-of-force investigative report. These transcribed interviews are exhaustively reviewed and audited by external monitors such as the Federal Independent Monitor; the civilian Board of Police Commissioners; the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division; and the Police Commission’s primary oversight component, the Office of the Inspector General. These monitoring and oversight components of the investigative process ensure compliance with various constitutional provisions, such as proper Miranda advisement, detention, and search-and-seizure issues. In addition, investigators are required by the Federal Consent Decree to conduct an extensive witness canvass of the incident scene, so as to ensure a thorough collection of information from all persons with relevant information. The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division (FID) has benefited from recent technological advancements. One of the most versatile technologies used is the Total Station laser survey instrument, which is used to measure the exact locations of all evidence and shooting positions in the context of documenting the physical surroundings of the scene under investigation. It can also be used to create computerized two-dimensional and three-dimensional diagrams for use in the review process.