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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76548 Find in a Library
Title: Investigation of the Use of Deadly Force (From Critical Issues in Law Enforcement, P 102-106, 1981, Harry W More, Jr, ed. - See NCJ-76546)
Author(s): P J Donnelly
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sale Source: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
2035 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Steps involved in an investigation of police use of deadly force are detailed. It is suggested that police departments maintain a standard operating procedure for shooting investigations and have clearly understandable and often repeated firearms use policies.
Abstract: There are three major reasons for investigating the officer's actions in each incident of the use of deadly force; first, public accountability demands an investigation; second, the officer's actions must be reviewed from the standpoint of internal control; third, a thorough investigation protects both the department and the officer from unjust criticism. The investigation must be thorough, following the procedures for a normal homicide investigation. The principles of crime scene and physical evidence preservation must be adhered to. The victim should be transported to the nearest hospital and an officer assigned to safeguard the scene. Written statements should be taken from eye and circumstantial witnesses, and the general area should be canvassed for witnesses. Liaison with other agencies who have an interest in the incident should be quickly established. The initial offense which led to the shooting should also be thoroughly investigated, just as if the offender were apprehended and facing prosecution. Unless there is some indication of impropriety, the officer involved should not be suspended or placed on restricted duty pending the outcome of the investigation. Such action serves no purpose other than to create a feeling of guilt. The officer should be interviewed as soon as possible; if he is viewed as an accused, he must be advised of his Constitutional and civil rights. In dealing with the media, a press release recounting the incident along with a brief statement about the legal guidelines regarding the use of deadly force should be released to the press.
Index Term(s): Crime Scene Investigation; Homicide; Police community relations; Police internal investigations; Police legal limitations; Police use of deadly force; Police weapons use
Note: Reprinted from Police Chief, V 45, May 1978.
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