Conducting Police Officer Involved Shooting Investigations 

Training Goals and Objectives

There is arguably no single event that can traumatize a police agency more than a police officer involved shooting incident. The criticism and intense scrutiny generated by the media, community activists, the general public, and the criminal justice system itself, can be enormous. Civil judgments resulting from such cases can debilitate a police organization for years, have an adverse effect on employee morale, and hamper agency effectiveness through the erosion of public opinion. It is, therefore, imperative that every police department prepare in earnest for this inevitable eventuality. It is also essential that the investigator charged with the task of leading a police officer involved shooting investigation become as equally prepared.

The purpose of this course is to provide attendees with a basic investigative model that is applicable to all officer involved shootings incidents, regardless of the size of their department. Police officer involved shootings are vastly different from any other type ofhomicide investigations training investigation. The stakes for the shooting officer and his department are so high that it is imperative that the investigation be conducted in a prescribed manner. This course will provide those in attendance with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to handle any deadly force incident.

                                               Training Audience, Format and Content

This course is intended for those investigators who are specifically assigned to the criminal  as well as the administrative investigation of officer involved shootings and in-custody deaths. It is also appropriate for those detectives or uniform personnel who may be required to assist in these types of investigations. Mid-level police managers and police administrators as well as crime scene technicians, medical examiner/coroner investigators, supervisors, military investigators, criminal analysts, and prosecuting attorneys would also benefit from the training.

The course is conducted in 2 day sessions.  Instruction is provided through the use of a PowerPoint presentation that makes liberal use of authentic crime scene photographs. This insures that the topics discussed are portrayed as realistically as possible. Numerous handouts and video tapes are used as instructional aids. 

Daily content and course schedule:

Day One:

  • Definitions of Deadly Force / Model Use of Force Policies
  • The Use of Force Matrix
  • Landmark Court Decisions (Garner v. Tennessee, Graham v. Connor, Garrity v. New Jersey, etc.)
  • Lethal Force Statistics
  • Federal intervention in law enforcement agencies including Consent Decrees
  • Why Is the Investigation So Important?
  • Who Should Conduct the Investigation?
  • Fait Accompli
  • The Shooting Team Concept
  • The Three Phases of a Lethal Force Investigation
  • Proper Procedures at Police Shootings
  • How to Handle the Shooting Officer
  • Interviewing Witnesses and Witness Officers
  • The Role Of Internal Affairs
  • The Police Shooting Checklist


Day Two:

  • The Police Shooting Crime Scene (Mincey vs. Arizona )
  • Perceptual Distortions
  • How Subjects Are Shot in the Back
  • How to Prepare for the Grand Jury or the Inquest
  • Multi-jurisdictional Investigations
  • In-depth Examination of Gunshot Wounds (Contact, Intermediate & Distant)
  • The Autopsy (Pattern Injuries, Coup / Contra Coup, Surrender wounds, Defensive Wounds, Supported Wounds, etc.)
  • Time of Death (as it relates to In-Custody and Arrest-Related Death investigations)
  • Suicide By Cop
  • Post Shooting (Post Traumatic Stress disorder)
  • The Dark Side of Officer Involved Shootings
  • Unfounded Shootings
  • Shooting At Moving Vehicles
  • Shootings of the Mentally Ill
  • Shots Fired...Officer Down (The Officer as a Victim)
  • When Police Officers Commit Murder

Day Three (½):

  • In Custody and Arrest- related Deaths (SIDS, Cocaine Psychosis, Excited Delirium)
  • Pepper Spray and Hogtying Deaths
  • Taser associated deaths
  • Media issues in  In-Custody and OIS cases
  • Report  writing and related documentation
  • Case Studies


Students should be forewarned that the content of this course contains numerous death scene photographs that are highly graphic and intense. Due to the sensitive nature of this material, attendance is restricted to sworn law enforcement personnel, or those directly involved in the criminal justice system.

This course is recognized by various POST / POSTC organizations including: South Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, Montana, Minnesota, Delaware, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Utah. 


OR SIMPLY CALL: (954) 294-2369