Independent Investigative Team (IIT)
With the passage of Washington State Initiative 940 and SHB 1064, incidents where the use of deadly force by a peace officer results in death, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm, require an independent investigation.
An IIT is created when multiple law enforcement agencies enter into a written agreement to investigate police use of deadly force incidents in their geographical regions. A single law enforcement agency may fulfill the independent investigative function, provided it is not the involved agency
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a final report from the 21st Century Task Force on Policing. A core focus of that report addressed strategies for improving relationships, increasing community engagement, and fostering cooperation. The report recommended clear and comprehensive policies on the use of force, training on the importance of de-escalation, crisis intervention and mental health, the provision of first aid, and recommended external and independent investigations in officer involved shootings resulting in injury or death.
The Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act (LETCSA), formerly known as I-940 or SHB 1064, is reflected in the Washington Administrative Codes (WACs) (https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=139-12-010) and the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) adopted rules. Both implemented the requirement of an Independent Investigation Team that is completely independent of the involved agency in incidents where the use of deadly force by a peace officer results in death, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm. The goal of this requirement is to enhance accountability and increase trust between law enforcement and the community to improve the legitimacy of policing for an increase in safety for everyone.
principles of an independent investigation
There are five principles that are fundamental to enhancing public trust in the integrity of independent investigations involving police use of deadly force:
- Independence - The need to demonstrate no undue influence on the investigation
- Transparency - The need to shine light on who was conducting the investigation and ensure it is done in compliance with the law
- Communication - The need for frequent and respectful communication is necessary to maintain the opportunity to trust the people and process involved in the investigation
- Credible process - The requirement to follow established best practices
- Credible investigators - The requirement to ensure that investigators are appropriately trained, experienced, and trustworthy
SEQUIM'S INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION TEAM (IIT)
|Officer McBride||Detective M. Larsen||Detective R. Larsen|
|Det. Sergeant Nelson||Dep. Chief Hill|
|Sharon DelaBarre||James Flynn||Ann Henninger||James Karr|
NON-LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE
- Vetting of IIT investigators,
- Screening for conflicts of interest, and
- Ensuring communication with families and community members
This position will require the Community Representative to pass a department/agency background check and attend identified training that is relevant to officer involved deadly force incidents. The Non-Law Enforcement Community Representative must sign a binding confidentiality agreement at the beginning of each police use of deadly force incident investigation. This is a non-paid volunteer position.
WA State Timeline
- June 2019, the CJTC developed and adopted de-escalation training rules to include conducting 80-hour “Train the Trainers” classes around the state so regional agency trainers can conduct the first 24 hours of “De-escalation Training” locally, using local staff.
- September/ October 2019: CJTC hosted public engagement meetings across the state to gather input on Independent Investigations criteria (Clallam County meeting held date??).
- December 2019, the CJTC developed and adopted the rules establishing the criteria for the Independent Investigations of police deadly force incidents.
- December 2019, all Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) students will receive 200 hours of violence de-escalation, mental health training and patrol tactics training as part of their basic training.
- January 5, 2020, all new rules took effect.
By December 2028, every incumbent Washington State certified peace officer must have completed 40 hours of de-escalation training, and every 3 years, each Washington State certified peace officer must complete 40-hours of de-escalation refresher training.
Sequim's iit timeline
- In Progress, Sequim Police Department staff are actively participating in the de-escalation “train the trainers” classes and are currently forming and recruiting for the members of the IIT.
- August 2021, Sequim Police Department recruited for the IIT Non-Law Enforcement Community Representatives.
- September 2021, recruitment for IIT Non-Law Enforcement Community Members closed on September 6, 2021.
- December 2021 - April 2022, selection and background process of IIT Non-Law Enforcement Community Members.
- May 4, 2022, IIT Non-Law Enforcement Community Members engaged in an introductory meeting and began their terms of service.