Officer involved shooting investigations take too long and lack transparency, according to Fresno’s independent police auditor. The Office of Independent Review says the average length of an OIS investigation is nearly a year.
“OIR stresses the sensitivity of OIS cases, and the fact that OIS investigations average over 350 days for completion and that is too long” says a quarterly report from auditors.
“That’s a lot of time for questioning and doubt, but if there is a response which comes within a quick period of time that question and doubt is going to be stamped by the fact you’ve got a whole group of people saying yes the officer’s conduct was appropriate,” said legal analyst Charles Magill.
The OIR is asking the Fresno police department to resolve OIS investigations much quicker and has made recommendations to improve transparency.
The audit also recommends two officers are present when dealing with confidential informants, protecting officers from false allegations and the informants from court appearances.
“That way it’s not just one officer’s credibility that’s an issue. It’s two officers whose credibility becomes an issue. That’s a second level of credibility that is really important,” said Magill.
The audit also reminds officers that the public is allowed to video record them, insult them, and even direct profanity at them. The report says how they respond is important and the wrong response can escalate an incident.