Southern Arizona law enforcement creating team to improve objectivity in officer shooting investigations

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 10:34 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Following a year of increased scrutiny of the way law enforcement officers deescalate, we continue to see police shootings.

The number of police shootings in the city of Tucson so far this year is at four, and three have been deadly. And in Pima County, there have been two, one of which was deadly.

But of course, the goal is none at all.

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos said on Friday, June 4, police chiefs from every agency in the valley met with that same goal in mind, and a new plan to get there.

The latest shooting involving law enforcement took place on Friday when Tucson police officers shot and killed a man at Jesse Owens Park, after they say he lunged at them with a weapon.

In most of these cases, the agency involved handles its own criminal investigation.

But Nanos says that will change soon, with the “Pima Critical Incident Team.”

“If there’s a shooting, the active agency will set aside and step away and all the other agencies combined will work that case to its end,” says Nanos.

After partnering with area law enforcement agencies to come up with a plan for more unbiased investigations, it’s coming to fruition. Officers will begin to get specialized training on de-escalation and use of force. One of the first will take place in just a few weeks.

“It’s just another look at reform and the way we conduct business to be as transparent as we can and getting that information,” says Nanos.

Sheriff Nanos says every agency has been receptive to the plan so far, and now it’s up to the jurisdiction to give the last green light.

“I’m very excited for being able to as a valley with all the agencies involved--be able to work together and produce a more transparent investigation for the community and those impacted by it.”

And another step toward transparency is something Sheriff Nanos has been pushing for deputies to get body cameras. He says by July first, the plan is to have the cameras ordered and will be ready to use soon.

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