18 Jul The Aftermath of an Officer Involved Shooting | Part 3: Administrative Investigation
It has been a long and difficult night. The officer did what he had to do to live. The things he will hear and be told on this evening will stick with him for the rest of his career and in some instances the rest of his life. He is tiring as the adrenaline dump from the fight or flight response fades, but he also knows he must also face scrutiny from his employer in the form of an administrative investigation.
The Internal Affairs unit has already been contacted and will be conducting a much broader investigation into whether the officer violated any of the hundreds of policies and work-place rules established by his employer. The investigator places the officer on administrative leave. He is stripped of his weapon, he is told he can’t return to work until the parallel investigations are completed and he is informed that he will be contacted to set-up a time and place where is required as a condition of his employment to provide a recorded statement.
Unfortunately, the administrative investigation process can weigh more heavily on the officer that the actual criminal inquiry. The criminal inquiry which is being conducted by an independent third party is much more simplistic – the officer was either justified in the use of force or he wasn’t. He either committed a crime or he didn’t.
The administrative investigation on the other hand is not conducted by an independent third party, but rather an internal unit of the political hierarchy in which the officer exists. It is easily manipulated to serve political purposes and to produce desired outcomes. And regardless of whether the conclusion is a finding of “non-sustained” or “exonerated” it is part of the officer’s disciplinary investigative history, which will undoubtedly surface in the event the officer is ever in another use of force situation. The officer awaits the fate his employer will hand him.
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