Friday, December 2, 2016

PA DA's Association release guidelines for officer involved shootings

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association presented guidelines  to all 67 counties on how to investigate and prosecute officer-involved shootings, reported the Harrisburg Patriot.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said, in some ways, the added public and media interest in police-involved shootings is good for transparency. Yet, video can shape judgment before an investigation is complete.
“These investigations have changed,” Marsico said. “Ferguson, Baltimore have put a different spin on them.”
Marsico said prosecutors need to evolve on the way an investigation is handled. He was an active member of the Best Practices Committee for the PDAA. Over the past several months, the committee comprised 16 guidelines to best handle an officer-involved shooting.
“There are things that have been tested and are working for prosecutors for these really important investigations,” he said. “(PDAA) wanted to give guidance to prosecutors ... it’s really important that we have an independent investigation.”
Hiring an independent agency or investigator is the main recommendation for all counties to follow. Most counties, including Dauphin County, already do this as standard procedure. However, there were never any concrete policies in place.
Prosecutors are also encouraged to communicate with the public more often, explain the process, and release preliminary findings to help ensure transparency. Marsico said this was key during the Earl 
Another lesson learned was the challenge of releasing video to the public in a timely manner while holding the integrity of the investigation. 

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