Officer-involved shootings

San Diego County Agencies Will No Longer Investigate Own Fatal Officer Shootings

Officials are calling for "clear guidelines in completing a thorough, impartial and timely investigation of incidents when the use of force results in death"

NBC Universal, Inc.

Every law enforcement agency in San Diego County has signed a memorandum that would change the way investigations of deadly law-enforcement-involved shootings are handled, officials announced Wednesday.

The memorandum of understanding ensures that no law enforcement agency in the county is investigating their own officers when they are involved in deadly shootings, which was previously the practice.

"The bottom line of what you heard today and the reason why this is a great step is because no agency will be investigating their own officer-involved shooting," San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said.

Under the memorandum, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department will investigate all SDPD use of force incidents involving death. The San Diego Police Department will investigate the sheriff’s office and all other agencies. The Chula Vista Police Department will investigate incidents that involve both SDPD and Sheriff’s Department.

Officials are calling for "clear guidelines in completing a thorough, impartial and timely investigation of incidents when the use of force results in death," reports NBC 7's Dana Griffin.

State agencies have also signed on to the memorandum, said San Diego County Undersheriff Kelly Martinez, who was a leader in creating the agreement. Agencies have the ability to opt out of the memorandum but no agencies have.

The DA's office will continue to review all incidents, and a DA investigator will be dispatched to the scene of all shootings to gather information as the investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing, Stephan said.

There have been a spate of officer- and deputy-involved incidents this year, including a fatal shooting of a knife-wielding woman in Little Italy in March, another fatal shooting two weeks ago in San Carlos and one involving a man who was critically injured after he was shot by at by three officers this week in front of harbor police headquarters in San Diego.

Martinez said plan was in the works for a year and was not a direct response to any recent deadly shootings.

Incidents that don't involve deaths will still be handled by the involved agencies. Deaths at San Diego County jails will not fall under the memorandum, either, Martinez said.

The news conference was held at an office of the sheriff's department and was attended by the county's San Diego Police chief David Nisleit, as well as county district attorney Summer Stephan, Chula Vista Police chief Roxana Kennedy and county undersheriff Kelly Martinez.

Contact Us