Improving Investigations of Police Shootings

The goal of this policy lab is to develop optimal protocols for criminal investigations of officer-involved shootings. Our client is the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, which has asked us to assess how such investigations should be staffed, structured, and led in order to ensure that that they are, and are perceived to be, both rigorous and impartial. The client has asked us to survey best practices around the nation, to think boldly and imaginatively about how best to protect against both the reality and the perception of bias, and to make recommendations that can be presented not only to the client but also, potentially, to other local and state officials in California for adoption statewide. Among the questions we will consider is the whether and when a criminal investigation into an officer-involved shooting should stay at the county level, be conducted by state officials, or be handled by investigators and/or prosecutors from other California counties.

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