Investigation and Oversight of Officer-Involved Shootings LAPD

March 23, 2010

Investigations of Officer-Involved Shootings (OIS) are done only by Force Investigation Division (FID), a group of investigators specially trained, equipped and assigned exclusively to investigate serious uses of force by police.  The FID is overseen by Professional Standards Bureau, which also includes Internal Affairs.  The investigation includes recorded interviews of officers involved, witnesses, the collection of all forms of evidence, the assembly of all reports, and presentation of an extensive report (usually much longer than a thousand pages) to the Chief of Police and the Board of Police Commissioners. 

The Office of the Inspector General (IG) answers only to the Police Commission, not to the Chief of Police.  Inspector General investigators respond to every OIS and have unrestricted access to everything being done at the scene.  The IG’s staff not only sees the investigative steps being taken from start to finish, but also reviews each final report and investigation for completeness, accuracy, and any other concerns they may wish to present to the Police Commission.  The IG is an independent civilian oversight authority.

The District Attorney (DA) sends investigators to every OIS where someone is hit.  The DA investigators examine the scene, can interview witnesses and can conduct their own investigation.  The DA determines whether the there will be criminal charges against the involved officers.

The County Coroner sends an investigator to the scene and conducts an examination of the scene, acquires reports from investigators, and later performs an autopsy. The Coroner is responsible for determining the cause of death and producing a report.  A copy of the Coroner’s report is incorporated into the FID report submitted to the Police Commission.

The Board of Police Commissioners reviews the extensive final investigation done by FID, reviews the IG’s report of the investigation, and independently determines whether an Officer-Involved Shooting is “In Policy” or “Out of Policy.” The Police Commission has the authority to require more investigation if they need more information.  The Police Commission is the final authority to declare an Officer-Involved Shooting.  The Police Commission is an independent civilian oversight authority.