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In 2018, voters of the state of Washington passed Initiative 940. It has been codified in the Washington Administrative Code as WAC 139-11 Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act and WAC 139-12 Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act - Independent Investigations Criteria. These measures specify that when a Law Enforcement Officer uses deadly force that results in death, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm an independent investigation will occur, conducted by an Independent Investigative Team (IIT). The IIT is defined as: A team of qualified and certified peace officer investigators, civilian crime scene specialist, and at least two non-law enforcement community representatives who operate completely independent of any involved agency to conduct investigations of police deadly force incidents. The City of Sequim has entered into an agreement with the Kitsap County Multi-Agency IIT for this purpose.
According to the WAC, the non-law enforcement representatives, “should have credibility with and ties to communities impacted by police use of deadly force.” It goes on to state, “Chiefs and Sheriffs of each regional team shall create a transparent process for soliciting names and creating a roster of individuals willing to serve in this capacity.” When the WAC protocol is implemented, selected members will assist the following ways:
• Participate in the vetting, interviewing, and or selection of IIT investigators.
• Review conflict of interest statements by the investigators during each incident.
• Be present at briefings with the involved agency’s Chief or Sheriff.
• Have access to the investigation file upon its completion.
• Review a copy of all press releases/communication to media prior to release.
• Review notification of equipment use of involved agency.
• Sign a binding confidentiality agreement within 72 hours at the beginning of each investigation in which they are involved.
The City of Sequim Police Department is seeking a diverse group of non-law enforcement Sequim area residents interested in being placed on a roster to serve in this role. As required, selected representatives may be called upon to assist at various times throughout the year, to include weekends, holidays, and overnight hours. Community Representatives in the event of an IIT related investigation would then be selected from the roster. There is no compensation in any manner for serving in this capacity.
For more information, please contact Chief Sheri Crain at (360) 683-7227 or visit https://www.sequimwa.gov/993/Independent-Investigative-Team-IIT on the City of Sequim website.