General Policy Information
Latest Revision Date: 12/1/2014
Title 1 - Department Administration
Title 2 - Department Employment
Title 3 - Employee Welfare
Title 4 - Human Resources
Title 5 - Employee Conduct
Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure
Title 7 - Evidence and Property
Title 8 - Use of Force
Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms
Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security
Title 11 - Detainee Management
Title 12 - Department Information Systems
Title 13 - Vehicle Operations
Title 14 - Emergency Operations
Title 15 - Primary Investigation
Title 16 - Patrol Operations
Effective Date: 12/19/2012
This policy pertains to the review of firearms discharges by Department employees. This review process applies to all intentional and accidental discharges of firearms by Department employees, regardless of location or duty status. It does not apply to range training, hunting, or military activity.
- The purpose of the review will be to determine the circumstances that brought about the discharge of the firearm and evaluate compliance with current policy.
- Planning for Firearms Review Boards will be conducted by the Compliance Section under the direction of the FRB chair.
a. Summary Review is Only Allowed Under the Following Circumstances:
- No death or injury to a person is involved; and
- The incident involves an unintentional discharge under circumstances that the Chief of Staff does not believe requires review by a FRB; or
- The incident involves an intentional discharge at an animal under circumstances that the Chief of Staff does not believe requires review by a FRB.
b. If New Information Arises at any Time During the Summary Review Process That the Chief of Staff Believes Justifies Review by a FRB, the Captain of the Compliance Section will be Notified to Begin the FRB Process
c. A Report to the Chief of Police Will be Prepared by the Chief of Staff That Documents the Summary Review of the Incident. The Report Will Include:
- A brief summary of the incident to include the GO number, date time and general circumstances.
- A summary of the results of the investigation and findings of fact.
- A statement of the actions taken as a result of the review.
d. A Summary Review Will Normally be Completed Within 30 Days of the Incident
e. The Final Summary Review Report Will be Forwarded to the Captain of the Compliance Section, who Shall Maintain the Records of all Summary Reviews of Firearms Discharges
- Voting Members
- Chair: FRBs will be chaired by an assistant chief. The chair will be selected on a rotating basis from a list maintained by the Compliance Section by the Chief of Staff.
- The Captain of the Education & Training Section, or a representative from that section.
- A captain who is not within the chain of command of the involved officer(s) or involved in the investigation. This captain will be selected on a rotating basis from a list maintained by the Compliance Section.
- A lieutenant who is not within the chain of command of the involved officer(s) or involved in the investigation. The lieutenant will be selected on a rotating basis from a list maintained by the Compliance Section.
- Non-Voting Members
- The Director of the Communications Section, to evaluate Communications Section training implications that are identified during the FRB.
- A civilian observer, appointed by the Mayor in accordance with Ordinance #118482.
- A bargaining unit representative shall be permitted to attend the Firearms Review Board, if requested by the subject employee in accordance with RCW 41.56.
- In accordance with RCW 41.56, the bargaining unit representative who serves as the non-voting member of the Firearms Review Board shall not be the same representative who represents the subject employee before the Firearms Review Board.
a. The Compliance Section will Coordinate With the Investigating Detective Sergeant(s) to Verify That Adequate Time is Allowed for Them to be Prepared to Present Their Investigation to the FRB
b. The Captain of the Compliance Section Shall Verify That Internal Section Procedures are in Place to Address the Following:
- Coordination with the FRB chair who will approve all plans
- Coordination with other board members to verify availability and keep them informed
- Communication is maintained with the involved officers and their chain of command
- That all documents needed for the FRB are prepared and available for review by the FRB members 3 to 5 business days prior to the FRB
- Confidentiality of the documents and information collected for the board
- Logistical needs are met (adequate location, transportation for site visits, water and other refreshments)
- All records and reports of the FRB are maintained in accordance with retention schedules
a. The Chair of the FRB Shall Report Findings of Fact and Conclusions as to the Circumstances Surrounding any Shooting Incident Involving Death or Bodily Injury
- This report will be submitted to the Chief of Police through the Chief of Staff. These findings, along with a determination by the Chief as to whether or not the shooting was justified, shall be made available to the public through the Office of the Chief of Police.
b. If Facts Indicate That an Inquest Will be Held or Criminal Charges may be Filed Against an Officer as a Result of a Firearm Discharge, the FRB Shall Delay Final Recommendations Until After Such Court Actions are Concluded
c. At the Board’s Option, it may File With the Chief of Police a Separate Report Which Would Include Comments, Opinions, and General Recommendations Which Would be Intended to Assist the Chief in Making a Final Decision on the Matter
- At the Chief's discretion, this report may be treated as confidential.
d. The Chair Will Notify the Captain of the Education & Training Section of the Results and Dispositions of all Intentional Firearm Discharges and all Accidental Firearm Discharges Resulting in Injury or Death
- If a violation of law or a serious violation of Department rules or regulations is indicated, the matter shall be referred to the Office of Professional Accountability and processed in accordance with the Department’s disciplinary procedures.
- If an incident is clearly due to inadequate training or a failure to follow training procedures regarding the handling, use or care of a firearm, the matter shall be referred to the Captain of the Education & Training Section so that additional training may be afforded to the officer. Discharges resulting from violation(s) of training procedures may result in discipline.
- If the discharge was accidental and resulted in injury or death, a recommendation shall be made as to whether or not discipline or corrective training is necessary.
- Such a request shall be made within five days after receiving notification of the hearing.
- When such a request is timely made, the alternate citizen observer (appointed by the Mayor) shall be used for the hearing.