Review of Shooting Incidents in the Department of Justice
E & I Report I-2004-010
U. S. Department of Justice
Office of Investigative Agency Policies
Washington. D.C. 20530
September 20, 1995
MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
|THROUGH:||THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL|
|FROM:||LOUIS J. FREEH
DIRECTOR, INVESTIGATIVE AGENCY POLICIES
|SUBJECT:||Resolutions 12 and 13|
|PURPOSE:||To obtain approval for implementation of Resolutions 12 and 13, which are attached|
|DISCUSSION:||Resolution 12 addresses Department of Justice critical incident response. Resolution 13 creates policy regarding Department of Justice shooting incident reviews. These Resolutions represent consensus recommendations of the Executive Advisory Board of the Office of Investigative Agency policies. No party to these Resolutions has advised that it wishes to appeal either of them.|
September 21, 1995
Pursuant to the Attorney General's Order Number 1814-93, dated November 18, 1993, and in my capacity as Director of Investigative Agency Policies, I hereby issue the following resolution concerning the conduct of post-shooting incident reviews.
The Attorney General requested that the Office of Investigative Agency Policies ("OIAP") consider the means by which Department of Justice ("DOJ") investigative agencies conduct post- shooting incident reviews. I referred this matter to the Firearms and Ammunition Working Group ("FAWG").50 Resolution is the product of the FAWG's efforts and has been approved by the OIAP Executive Advisory Board ("EAB").
According to the terms of the Order creating the OIAP, I have been authorized, "in the areas of overlapping jurisdiction of the criminal investigative agencies," to:
(1) Take all steps necessary to improve coordination among the criminal investigative agencies of the Department [of Justice], both within the United States and abroad; (2) Assure, to the extent appropriate, consistent operational guidelines for the criminal investigative agencies of the Department [of Justice]; (9) Provide advice to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General on all investigative policies, procedures and activities that warrant uniform treatment or coordination among the criminal investigative agencies of the Department; [and] ...(11) Perform such other functions as may be necessary for the effective policy-level coordination of criminal investigations by the criminal investigative agencies of the Department [of Justice], particularly with respect to drug trafficking, fugitive apprehension, violence, and related areas, and for the elimination of waste and duplication in these functions...
Order Number 1814-93, Section (b).
Attached to this Resolution as Exhibit A is the proposed policy and accompanying commentary concerning the conduct of post-shooting incident reviews. I believe that this policy and commentary set forth appropriate general guidance to the agencies. Furthermore, that general guidance is balanced with appropriate deference to the specific needs of the agencies.
This Resolution does not create or confer any right or benefit on any person, public or private. Nothing in it, its attachments, or associated documents is intended to restrict authority as provided by law, statute, or regulation.
As I noted above, this Resolution has been approved by the EAB. Further, I have been advised that no OIAP member agency will appeal this Resolution.
Dated: September 20, 1995
on Reporting and Review of Shooting Incidents
Commentary Regarding the Shooting Incident
Reporting and Review Process
The Department of Justice ("DOJ") hereby establishes a uniform policy with respect to the reporting and review of shooting incidents. The policy and this commentary provide practical guidance for DOJ law enforcement component officials tasked with reporting, documenting, investigating, and reviewing reports detailing the discharge of firearms during the conduct of official business. The policy is intended to ensure that (1) shooting incidents are investigated and reviewed commensurate with the type of incident involved, and (2) documented in a manner which is thorough, factual, and objective.
This policy is the product of discussions among DOJ's law enforcement components and the advice of their respective offices of legal counsel. As a matter of principle, this document does not attempt to dictate how individual components implement the policy nor encroach upon the prerogatives of their Senior Management, but rather establishes guidelines for the reporting, investigation, documentation, and review of shooting incidents.
For the purposes of this policy, a "shooting incident" means:
Reporting Requirement - the necessity for promptly advising a designated component Headquarters Senior Manager that a shooting incident has occurred.
Shooting inquiry - the investigative process which must follow any shooting incident, except as noted in Paragraph (1) in the statement of policy.
Shooting incident review - the post investigation administrative process conducted by an independent review committee designated by each component.
The initial report is intended to promptly (1) document the shooting incident and (2) involve a designated Senior Manager in appropriate oversight of the decisional and investigative process. The initial report must contain sufficient information to allow Senior Managers to make informed judgments regarding the necessity, type, and complexity of subsequent inquiries.
Field office and Headquarters Senior Management will ensure that initial relevant details regarding the incident are documented and will establish by whom and to what extent the incident will be investigated.
Shooting incident inquiries should be conducted with due regard for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of involved employees, their families, co-workers, and other persons, including victims and witnesses. The purpose of the investigative, reporting, and review process is to provide Senior Management with a factual basis for evaluating operational activities; assessing the reasonableness of the conduct; and, determining the effectiveness of training, planning, judgment, and other factors, which may compromise operations or the safety of employees.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting incident will dictate the complexity of the investigation conducted, the nature of the report(s) submitted, and the level of review to which the incident is subjected. These decisions will be made by a designated component Headquarters Senior Manager following consultation with field office Senior Management. It's essential that sufficient oversight of this critical process be exercised to ensure that: (a) a thorough, factual, and objective investigation is conducted; (b) the results of the inquiry are memorialized in a comprehensive report appropriate for the type of incident being investigated; and (c) that potential conflicts of interest are avoided, including even the appearance of conflict of interest or impropriety.
Inquiries should be conducted to achieve, at a minimum, the following objectives:
The shooting incident review is intended to act as a "check and balance" for the investigative process and to provide appropriate objective analyses, observations, and recommendations to the component's Senior Management.
Within ninety (90) days, DOJ law enforcement components shall modify existing shooting incident review policies as necessary to accord with this general policy.