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Roanoke Police Department modifies policy for Officer Involved Shooting Investigations

January 13, 2017 | Virginia News

Roanoke, Va. — Following in depth discussions with law enforcement stakeholders, the Roanoke Police Department has made the decision to utilize the Virginia State Police (VSP) for the criminal investigation portion of all officer-involved shootings. The Roanoke Police Department will cooperate fully in any future investigations and is in the process of completing the necessary internal changes to aid in this endeavor.

Chief Tim Jones attributes this change to developing best practices for law enforcement agencies. “We welcome this move to an independent investigation associated with the circumstances surrounding officer involved use of lethal force or in custody death,” Chief Jones said. “While we hope that such investigative circumstances will not be necessary, we believe this change will build upon the confidence our community already has established in our department. The continued trust between the police and the community is vital and it is obvious that many of our citizens, along with professional law enforcement associations, have expressed support for this type progressive transparency and change.”

This change in policy has been shared with the Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney, Donald Caldwell. His office is supportive of the Roanoke Police Department’s initiative to make changes in the investigative process. In addition the Virginia State Police Criminal Investigations Division, Salem Office, has been involved with the Roanoke Police Department and Commonwealth’s Attorney Offices to insure a smooth transition of this change to the investigation policy.

The Roanoke Police Department will continue with a parallel but separate internal investigation into all officer involved shootings to determine if the officer’s actions were within policy guidelines. Those findings will continue to be shared with the police department’s established Disciplinary Review Board, a panel which utilizes citizen representatives to review circumstances and to make recommendations to the Chief of Police related to disciplinary matters.

Contact: Scott Leamon, (540) 537-6804
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