BOISE, Idaho — In less than four months, there have been five police shootings in the Treasure Valley.
August 7 will mark two weeks since the last shooting that happened when Boise Police officers were investigating a squatting call and a man pointed what appeared to be a gun at them, which was later determined to be a BB gun.
With the increase in police shootings, Boise Police invited local media to a roundtable discussion Thursday on how the investigation works. Ada County has a Critical Incident Task Force made up of detectives from different agencies that will rotate working these types of investigations.
The department or agency that is being investigated is never involved in their own investigation. After the investigation is finished, findings are referred to the prosecuting attorney, which is often outside of Ada County as well.
Boise Police say that once an investigation is complete, with certain exceptions, the investigation itself will become a public record.
"I often tell young officers this badge doesn't make you right, it doesn't make you wrong, it doesn't make you stronger, it definitely doesn't make you bulletproof, but what it does is it obligates you to protect and serve the public that needs to be served," said Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee.
Chief Lee also talked about how the Office of Police Accountability investigation is separate from the Task Force investigation. Boise Police would not comment on any of the recent shootings as they are still under investigation.
Below is the officer-involved shooting response process provided by Boise Police in a news release:
OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING RESPONSE PROCESS
Investigation by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force
Immediately following an officer-involved shooting, the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force (CITF) is activated to investigate.
What is the CITF?
The CITF is made up of qualified detectives from each law enforcement agency in Ada County. CITF participating agencies include the Boise Police Department, Meridian Police Department, Garden City Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, and Idaho State Police. Detectives from an uninvolved agency are assigned lead on a rotating basis. Detectives from the involved agency still participate but don’t take a lead role in any critical areas. The completed investigation is then sent to a Prosecuting Attorney outside of Ada County for a criminal review of the officers’ actions.
· The involved officers are sequestered and evidence, including weapons, is collected.
· The involved officers are separated until detectives have completed their preliminary interviews.
· The assigned detectives are in charge of conducting a meticulous investigation including interviews, forensic analysis of the evidence, collection of video surveillance, etc.
· Any available on-body camera video is provided to the CITF.
· The Director of the Office of Police Accountability is immediately notified and may respond to the location.
· If there is a fatality, the Ada County Coroner responds to the location of the deceased and conducts an independent investigation of the body.
News Media Are Proactively Notified
· News media are provided with updates as soon as possible after a critical incident
· The names of the involved BPD officers are provided in a news release once certain internal notifications and other security plans are in place
· BPD works with the CITF regarding any release of details, photos, and videos so as not to interfere with their investigation.
· On-body video is generally made available for public release by the Boise Police Department at the conclusion of the CITF investigation and after all prosecutorial needs are met to ensure a fair trial in the event of criminal charges against an officer or the suspect.
· In every critical incident, the involved officers are relieved from duty to provide an opportunity for peer counseling and a psychological evaluation
INTERNAL BOISE POLICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATION
· The Boise Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs conducts a separate internal investigation to determine whether BPD policies and procedures were followed.
· The internal investigation is conducted by two civilian investigators.
· BPD also analyzes training, policy, and crime trends as part of the internal review.
INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION BY THE OFFICE OF POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY (OPA)
· Following a critical incident, OPA conducts a mandatory independent investigation.
· The Director of the OPA is responsible for reviewing critical incident investigations conducted by the CITF and OIA, and may retain outside investigators as needed.
· OPA operates completely independently of BPD and reports directly to the Mayor and Council,
· Following an OPA review of a critical incident, findings are presented to the Mayor and Boise City Council. The OPA Director may advise city leaders on concerns, areas of improvement, and recommended changes in BPD’s response.