SPOKANE, Wash. -- When any member of law enforcement is involved in a shooting, there is a protocol for officers to follow.
On Wednesday night, Spokane Police shot and killed an armed robbery suspect outside a home near Maple and Grace.
When this happens, Spokane Police requests another agency to immediately investigating the shooting. For this shooting, Washington State Patrol is in charge.
Right after the incident, the officers involved help the response team create a public safety statement. This starts the investigation before officers go on leave.
Authorities then identify any other suspects and provide any other basic information including where to find additional evidence.
Then, the officers take a paid administrative leave for at least 72 hours. Research shows three days gives an officer enough time to recover from the traumatic event of shooting someone. It is also enough time to let the officer clearly remember what happened.
In some cases, officers can come forward earlier to help investigators.
The officer will then talk with the Regional Response Team and detectives from their own agency to talk about what happened. The Regional Response Team is made up of fellow law enforcement agencies including the Spokane Police, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol.
The officer will give more details on the incident, recall conversations and moments leading up to the shooting.
These investigations can often take months. Sometimes agencies are looking into more than one officer involved in the shooting at a time. They could also have to wait for results from a crime lab, which treats these shootings like any other case.
The investigators also have full-time jobs for their respective agencies they have to balance with these cases.
The Response Team said by having multiple agencies it helps to spread the responsibility to different investigators.