The purpose of this policy is to establish policy and procedures for the investigation of an incident in which a person is injured or dies, or is gravely injured, as the result of an officer-involved shooting or dies as a result of other action of an officer. In other incidents not covered by this policy, the chief of police may decide that the investigation will follow the process provided in this policy.
The policy of the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department is to ensure that officer-involved shootings and deaths, or officer-involved incidents when persons are gravely injured, are investigated in a thorough, fair and impartial manner. In cases involving officers using deadly force or for other incidents involving in-custody deaths, the Boulder County chief executive officers developed the Boulder County investigation team as a resource available to all Boulder County law enforcement agencies. The investigative team consists of a collection of skilled investigators from county agencies and serves as a resource to conduct unbiased, objective investigations in cases where officers use deadly force, or for other incidents involving in#custody deaths. The team is made available to conduct an investigation at the request of the chief of police. In instances when grave injury occurs but does not involve shooting or use of deadly force, the chief of police generally will assign the investigation of the officer's actions through the professional standards bureau. This does not preclude the chief from requesting additional outside resources to aid or assume an investigation as deemed appropriate.
A criminal investigation of the suspect’s actions.
- A criminal investigation of the involved officer’s actions.
- An administrative investigation as to policy compliance by involved officers.
- A civil investigation to determine potential liability.
The chief of police determines if the incident will be investigated by the Boulder County investigative team, internal personnel in accord with this policy manual, or by outside resources. If the Boulder County investigative team conducts the investigation, the on-scene CUPD supervisor maintains control of the scene until responsibility is formally accepted by a lead investigator from the team. Use of the Boulder County investigative team does not preclude responding officers and detectives from taking preliminary steps to gather initial witness statements, collect or protect any perishable evidence, and preserving the scene. If the Boulder County investigative team is not utilized, the supervisor maintains control of the scene until relieved by a department investigative supervisor and/or at at the direction of a command staff officer.
The chief of police or assigned designee will maintain a current copy of the Boulder County investigative team procedures and make it available to all command personnel.
Jurisdiction is determined by the location of the shooting or death or grave injury incident and the agency employing the involved officer.
The following procedures are guidelines used in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting or death, or officer-related incident resulting in grave injury.
305.5.1 Uninvolved Officer Responsibilities
Upon arrival at the scene of an officer-involved shooting or death, the first uninvolved CUPD officer will be the officer-in-charge and will assume the responsibilities of a supervisor until properly relieved. This officer should, as appropriate:
- Secure the scene and identify and eliminate hazards for all those involved.
- Take reasonable steps to obtain emergency medical attention for injured individuals.
- Request additional resources from the department or other agencies.
- Coordinate a perimeter or pursuit of suspects.
- Check for injured persons and evacuate as needed.
- Brief the supervisor upon arrival.
305.5.2 Supervisor Responsibilities
Upon arrival at the scene, the first uninvolved CUPD supervisor should ensure completion of the duties as outlined above, plus:
- Attempt to obtain a brief overview of the situation from any uninvolved officers.
- In the event that there are no uninvolved officers who can supply adequate overview, the supervisor should attempt to obtain a brief voluntary overview from one involved officer.
- If necessary, the supervisor may administratively order any CUPD officer to immediately provide public safety information necessary to secure the scene, identify injured parties and pursue suspects.
- Public safety information shall be limited to such things as outstanding suspect information, number and direction of any shots fired, perimeter of the incidentscene, identity of known or potential witnesses and any other pertinent information.
- The initial on-scene supervisor should not attempt to order any involved officerto provide any information other than public safety information.
- Provide all available information to the shift supervisor and the communications center. If feasible, sensitive information should be communicated over secure networks.
- Take command of and secure the incident scene with additional CUPD members, and assure required notifications occur as soon as practical, until properly relieved by another supervisor or other assigned personnel or investigator.
- As soon as practicable, ensure that involved officers are transported (separately, if feasible) to a suitable location for further direction.
- Each involved CUPD officer should be given an administrative order not to discuss the incident with other involved officers or CUPD members pending further direction from a supervisor.
- When an involved officer’s weapon is taken or left at the scene for other than officer-safety reasons (e.g., evidence), ensure that he/she is provided with a comparable replacement weapon or transported by other officers.
- The supervisor will coordinate all additional aspects of the scene until relieved by the chief of police or a command-level officer, BCIT Investigator, or by a CUPD investigations supervisor.
The following persons shall be notified as soon as practicable:
- The On-call command duty officer (CDO). The CDO may direct specific notifications, or may personally make such notifications as the situation dictates. Those who will be notified expediently include:
- Chief of police
- Operations division commander, if this individual is not the CDO
- Operations support division commander, if this person is not the CDO
- The department PIO.
Upon directive of the Chief of Police or designee, the following notifications may be made:
- Boulder County Critical Incident Investigation Team rollout team, if so requested by the chief of police or designee
- Outside agency investigators (if appropriate)
- Professional standards unit supervisor
- Psychological/peer support personnel
- Coroner (if necessary)
- Involved officer's agency representative (if requested)
305.5.4 Involved Officers
The following shall be considered for the involved officer:
- Any request for legal or union representation will be accommodated.
- Involved CUPD officers shall not be permitted to meet collectively or in a group with an attorney or any representative prior to providing a formal interview or report.
- Requests from involved non-CUPD officers should be referred to their employing agency.
- Discussions with licensed attorneys will be considered privileged as attorney-client communications.
- Discussions with agency representatives/employee groups will be privileged only as to the discussion of non-criminal information.
- A licensed psychotherapist shall be provided by the department to each involved CUPD officer. A licensed psychotherapist may also be provided to any other affected CUPD members, upon request.
- Interviews with a licensed psychotherapist will be considered privileged.
- An interview or session with a licensed psychotherapist may take place prior to the member providing a formal interview or report. However, involved members shall not be permitted to consult or meet collectively or in a group with a licensed psychotherapist prior to providing a formal interview or report.
- A separate fitness-for-duty exam may also be required (see the fitness for duty policy).
- Communications with a peer support team member will be considered privileged to the extent provided in CRS § 13-90-107.
Care should be taken to preserve the integrity of any physical evidence present on the involved officer's equipment or clothing, such as blood or fingerprints, until investigators or lab personnel can properly retrieve it. Each involved CUPD officer shall be given reasonable paid administrative leave following an officer-involved shooting or death. It shall be the responsibility of the shift supervisor to make schedule adjustments to accommodate such leave.
305.5.5 Officer Directly Involved - Initial Responsibilities
Any officer involved in a shooting or incident resulting in grave injury must immediately notify a supervisory officer of the incident and location. This notification should be done through communications. A delay in the required notification is allowed, if necessary, to render first aid, maintain an arrest or prevent an escape of a subject, protect a crime scene or when the officer is incapacitated
Until relieved by the next arriving officer, the involved member will remain responsible for protecting the crime scene, rendering first aid and requesting necessary emergency medical aid. An exception will be made if the officer is physically unable to fulfill these duties.
The officer involved is required to protect their weapon(s) for examination. At the direction of the on-scene supervisor or investigator, the weapon will be turned over as evidence either at the scene or at another location as appropriate.
The district attorney's office is responsible for the criminal investigation into the circumstances of any officer-involved shooting or death.
If available, investigative personnel from this department may be assigned to partner with investigators from outside agencies or the District Attorney's Office to avoid duplicating efforts in related criminal investigations.
Once public safety issues have been addressed, criminal investigators should be given the opportunity to obtain a voluntary statement from involved officers and to complete their interviews. The following shall be considered for the involved officer:
- CUPD supervisors and professional standards unit personnel should not participate directly in any voluntary interview of CUPD officers. This will not prohibit such personnel from monitoring interviews or providing the criminal investigators with topics for inquiry.
- If requested, any involved officer will be afforded the opportunity to consult individually with a representative of his/her choosing or an attorney prior to speaking with criminal investigators. However, in order to maintain the integrity of each involved officer’s statement, involved officers shall not consult or meet with a representative or an attorney collectively or in groups prior to being interviewed.
- If any involved officer is physically, emotionally or otherwise not in a position to provide a voluntary statement when interviewed by criminal investigators, consideration should be given to allowing a reasonable period for the officer to schedule an alternate time for the interview.
- Any voluntary statement provided by an involved officer will be made available for inclusion in any related investigation, including administrative investigations. However, no administratively coerced statement will be provided to any criminal investigators unless the officer consents.
305.6.1 Reports by Involved CUPD Officers
In the event that suspects remain outstanding or subject to prosecution for related offenses, this department shall retain the authority to require involved CUPD officers to provide sufficient information for related criminal reports to facilitate the apprehension and prosecution of those individuals.
While the involved CUPD officer may write the report, it is generally recommended that such reports be completed by assigned investigators, who should interview all involved officers as victims/witnesses. Since the purpose of these reports will be to facilitate criminal prosecution, statements of involved officers should focus on evidence to establish the elements of criminal activities by suspects. Care should be taken not to duplicate information provided by involved officers in other reports.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to deprive an involved CUPD officer of the right to consult with legal counsel prior to completing any such criminal report.
Reports related to the prosecution of criminal suspects will be processed according to normal procedures but should also be included for reference in the investigation of the officer-involved shooting or death.
305.6.2 Multi-Agency Investigation - Boulder County Investigation Team
Officer-involved shootings that result in injury or death shall be investigated by a multi-agency team, the Boulder County investigation team (BCIT) at the direction of the chief of police or designee.
The operations support division commander shall ensure this protocol is posted on the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department website and is available to the public upon request (CRS §16-2.5-301).
In addition to all other investigations associated with an officer-involved shooting or death, this department will conduct an internal administrative investigation of involved CUPD officers to determine conformance with department policy. This investigation will be conducted under the supervision of the professional standards unit and will be considered a confidential officer personnel file.
Interviews of members shall be subject to department policies (see the personnel complaints policy) and applicable laws.
- Any officer involved in a shooting or death may be requested or administratively compelled to provide a blood sample for alcohol/drug screening. Absent consent from the officer, such compelled samples and the results of any such testing shall not be disclosed to any criminal investigative agency.
- If any officer has voluntarily elected to provide a statement to criminal investigators, the assigned administrative investigator should review that statement before proceeding with any further interview of that involved officer.
- If a further interview of the officer is deemed necessary to determine policy compliance, care should be taken to limit the inquiry to new areas with minimal, if any, duplication of questions addressed in the voluntary statement. The involved officer shall be provided with a copy of his/her prior statement before proceeding with any subsequent interviews.
- In the event that an involved officer has elected not to provide criminal investigators with a voluntary statement, the assigned administrative investigator shall conduct an administrative interview to determine all relevant information.
- Although this interview should not be unreasonably delayed, care should be taken to ensure that the officer’s physical and psychological needs have been addressed before commencing the interview.
- If requested, the officer shall have the opportunity to select an uninvolved representative to be present during the interview. However, in order to maintain the integrity of each individual officer’s statement, involved officers shall not consult or meet with a representative collectively or in groups prior to being interviewed.
- Administrative interviews should be recorded by the investigator. The officer may also record the interview.
- The officer shall be informed of the nature of the investigation. If an officer refuses to answer questions, he/she should be given his/her Garrity rights and ordered to provide full and truthful answers to all questions. The officer shall be informed that the interview will be for administrative purposes only and that the statement cannot be used criminally.
- The professional standards unit shall compile all relevant information and reports necessary for the department to determine compliance with applicable policies.
- Regardless of whether the use of force is an issue in the case, the completed administrative investigation shall be submitted to the use of force review board, which will restrict its findings as to whether there was compliance with the use of force policy.
- Any other indications of potential policy violations shall be determined in accordance with standard disciplinary procedures.
A member of this department may be assigned to work exclusively under the direction of the legal counsel for the department to assist in the preparation of materials deemed necessary in anticipation of potential civil litigation.
All materials generated in this capacity shall be considered attorney work product and may not be used for any other purpose. The civil liability response is not intended to interfere with any other investigation but shall be given reasonable access to all other investigations.
Any officer involved in a shooting or death may be permitted to review available Mobile Audio/Video (MAV), body-worn video, or other video or audio recordings prior to providing a recorded statement or completing reports. Upon request, non-law enforcement witnesses who are able to verify their presence and their ability to contemporaneously perceive events at the scene of an incident may also be permitted to review available MAV, body-worn video, or other video or audio recordings with the approval of assigned investigators with the approval of a command staff officer.
Any MAV, body-worn and other known video or audio recordings of an incident should not be publicly released during an ongoing investigation without consulting the prosecuting attorney or university counsel’s office, as appropriate.
Following an officer-involved shooting or death, the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department should conduct both a critical incident/stress debriefing and a tactical debriefing. Additionally, the chief of police or designee will brief department members concerning the incident so that rumors are kept to a minimum. Department members are reminded that any information regarding the incident is released to the public only by the chief of police, chief's designee, or designated PIO.
305.10.1 Critical Incident/Stress Debriefing
A critical incident/stress debriefing should occur as soon as practicable. The support services division commander is responsible for organizing the debriefing. Notes and recorded statements should not be taken because the sole purpose of the debriefing is to help mitigate the stress-related effects of a traumatic event. The debriefing is not part of any investigative process. Care should be taken not to release or repeat any communication made during a debriefing unless otherwise authorized by policy, law or a valid court order.
Attendance at the debriefing shall only include those members of the department directly involved in the incident, which can include support personnel (e.g., dispatchers, other non-sworn). Family or other support personnel may attend with the concurrence of those involved in the incident. The debriefing shall be closed to the public and should be closed to all other members of the department, including supervisory and professional standards unit personnel.
305.10.2 TACTICAL DEBRIEFING
A tactical debriefing should take place to identify any training or areas of policy that need improvement. The chief of police should identify the appropriate participants. This debriefing should not be conducted until all involved members have provided recorded or formal statements to criminal and/or administrative investigators.
In such situations as listed in this policy, the chief of police designates a PIO who typically will act as a single source of public or media information. The chief of police or designee approves all public and media releases about the incident. Officer involved names will not be released for at least 24 hours after a police shooting or incustody death incident, unless approved by the chief of police, deputy chief of police, or division commander and the involved officers.
- An attempt will be made to notify the officer(s) prior to the release of name(s).
No involved CUPD officer shall make any comment to the media unless he/she is authorized by the chief of police or a division commander.
Department members receiving inquiries regarding officer-involved shootings or deaths occurring in other jurisdictions shall refrain from public comment and will direct those inquiries to the agency having jurisdiction and primary responsibility for the investigation.
The records manager, with the assistance of the investigations supervisor and/or the support services division chief of police, shall report the data required by CRS § 24-33.5-517 regarding officer-involved shootings to the Colorado Department of Public Safety by September 1 each year.