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10 Tips in Case You Are Involved in an Officer-Involved Shooting

Oct 26, 2022 | Knowledge

In the case of an officer-involved shooting (OIS), it is better to be prepared and to know what to expect. Read these ten tips so you are ready for the worst-case scenario.

1. Know What Your Department OIS Policy is

Are you allowed to watch your body cam footage? Does your department conduct its own investigation? Is there a set amount of time prior to you giving a statement? Thoroughly read through your department’s policy, so you have all of the answers before you need them.

2. Be Familiar with Public Safety Statements

Have an understanding of what is required for you to provide as part of a public safety statement after a shooting and what is not. Read more on our blog about Public Safety Statements here.

3. Immediately Contact Your Attorney

Know what the process is for contacting your attorney if you are involved in an OIS. Some POAs contact on your behalf; other times, the officer is expected to call them directly. If you know this process ahead of time, it will save you time.

4. Only Talk to Your Attorney About the OIS

The only statement that should be given to anyone other than your attorney after an officer-involved shooting is your public safety statement. The public safety statement is given to a supervisor on scene.

5. Conversations with Union Representatives Are Not Privileged

An officer-involved shooting is considered a criminal investigation. Therefore, any conversations you have with individuals who are not your attorney are not privileged. The only conversations you should be having with your union rep are regarding calling your attorney or about the process, not the facts.

6. Do Not Talk to Anyone Other Than Your Attorney Regarding the Facts Related to the Shooting

This includes information related to the initial call for service or actions taken after the shooting.

7. If You Provide a Statement After Being Involved in an OIS, it Will Be a Voluntary Statement

You will not be read your Miranda rights, nor will you be given a Lybarger admonishment and/or order to talk. Because such a statement is not compelled, it is not required and can also be terminated.

8. Other Agencies May Conduct the Investigation

Most agencies have another agency investigate their OIS. These other agencies are usually the local Sheriff’s Department or the District Attorney’s office.

9. The Initial OIS Investigation is a Criminal Investigation

There can be an internal affairs investigation related to the officer-involved shooting after your initial voluntary statement. Therefore, during your voluntary statement, you should not be asked policy questions.

10. If the Suspect is Unarmed at the Time of the Shooting, the Department of Justice Will Investigate the Shooting Pursuant to SB 1506

Be aware that in a situation in which the DOJ investigates, the investigation may be different than how typical OIS investigations are handled by your department, as the DOJ has different guidelines.


  • Brandi Harper

    Brandi Harper is a managing partner at the Castillo Harper Law Firm in Southern California. The firm focuses on representing first responders in administrative, criminal, civil, and family law matters.