This is the second course in the Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) webinar series conducted by Rick Hodsdon. The first part unpacked the nitty-gritty of determining the party to conduct investigations on officer-involved shooting cases – including common issues, practices, and trends when it comes to the topic. Meanwhile, this session aims to expound on evidence collection for OIS incidents.
A Justice Clearinghouse regular instructor, Rick Hodsdon has been an attorney for more than 40 years specializing in matters concerning corrections, criminal prosecution, and law enforcement operations. He represents Stillwater, Minnesota and its criminal justice agencies as the Assistant County Attorney. His experience also includes dealing with management, personnel and employment issues and training government personnel on these topics as well as civil litigation and criminal law.
Areas he tackled on this session are:
- The ongoing issue that poses challenges to OIS investigations due to rifts in the relationships between prosecutors, police administration and rank-and-file personnel.
- Source of video evidence that must be collected for OIS cases.
- Citizen/bystander videos: Obtaining the original and full recording to provide the most accurate depiction of the events, and utilizing technology to obtain these without the need to seize devices.
- Private security videos: Search and obtain these footages from the owners immediately as these private parties are not subject to records retention laws.
- Public area cameras: Its format as mandated by the Wiretap Electronic Intercept Statute and the importance of getting these footages in accordance with public records law.
- Squad car videos: The variations in the technology, its use per agency and the squad car footages to include as part of the evidence.
- Body-worn cameras: The issues and debate associated with acquiring and use of BWCs, common practices on positioning, and its public record status.
- The various forensic evidences that must be collected to understand the context of the incident including latent prints, DNA, as well as communications data like radio and text messages.
- Interviews with Involved Officers: Best practices on conducting interviews and debriefs, the mistrust and strained relationships that may impede investigations, and how timing can impact the accuracy of statements.
Questions raised during the Q&A were about:
- Statistics on officer-involved shootings and use of body-worn cameras.
- The risks of group debriefings and disclosing information in a group setting.
- Technology that duplicates files from citizens’ devices.
- Addressing the mistrust between police officers, administration and prosecution.
Webinars in this series:
- “Information is so relevant and important.” — Phyllis
- “Clear and concise information. Helpful information based upon real-world experience.” — Trevor
- “A wealth of information.” — Jennifer