Posted by Steve Hirjak
The Society for Integrity in Force Investigation and Reporting (SIFIR, pronounced "cypher") is a 501(c)3 non-profit that exists not to line the pockets of the board, but to provide training opportunities for people that investigate Use of Force incidents. The new standard spreading across the nation is to specialize in investigating these incidents. This benefits the public through a more thorough and knowledgeable investigation (let's face it, solving crimes and prosecuting bad guys is completely different than investigating an Officer Involved Shooting) and protects your Department because your administrative case has covered more angles that come up in court under Graham v Connor.
Themes from this Fall's conference focus on looking at four agencies from coast to coast (in realizing that the realities, politics, and laws differ from coast to coast, there is no one-size-fits-all method of dealing with shootings and hospitalizations) and how they investigate these incidents. One of the big things I'm looking forward to is hearing Rocky Bigham of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation talk about how they do shootings statewide and how they deal with the logistical problems inherent in running across the state to investigate these scenes (a topic ever more important as many state legislatures push for this model). Inspector Kevin Maloney and his crew in Force Investigation will talk about how they get things done in the city that never sleeps in America's largest police force, the NYPD. I'll talk about Seattle's process and how we got there, while Las Vegas will present their much-lauded process that came out of their collaborative reform effort with the DOJ.
Rick Wyant is a forensic scientist who has testified across the country (including the notable Walter Scott incident depicted above) on forensic issues and is a foremost investigator for scientific evidence regarding Taser evidence. He currently works at a state crime lab working real world cases from the scientific angle. He will give us some case examples and information regarding forensic evidence that is impossible to present a case without (since CSI aired).
We also have Jocelyn Roland who chaired the IACP Psychological Services Section when they issued their 2013 recommendation on officers taking a sleep break and waiting 24-72 hours before giving interviews. She tells us there are new studies that may affect this recommendation and will give us the opportunity to ask her questions about the research behind this. This may be very important as police departments are criticized for this practice and frequently have no real evidence to support why they do this.
Grant Fredericks has been kind enough to appear both at our conference as well as to provide a discount to his add-on two day module. If you attend the conference and register for his training as well, you will get a $100 discount compared to both events separately. The picture above comes from his work on the Tamir Rice incident. Grant is probably the world's premiere use of force video forensic expert. He has testified on both sides of trials, defending and prosecuting officers in use of force incidents. Sticking to the science behind digital video, his two day course teaches detectives the basics to make sure they aren't making erroneous assumptions about video which will later impeach them in court. When it comes to digital video, your eyes and the video can lie to you. The trick is to know when it is and when it isn't.
There will be other presenters as well, all relating to investigating Use of Force incidents in a way that you can use in the field. I sincerely hope to see you at the conference in sunny Mesa, AZ (Phoenix). The average high in November is 80º and sunny so the escape from the harsh weather this year may do you good. Aside from that, some of the best learning comes from talking with your fellow attendees who have combined experiences going into the centuries-worth of cases. Attendees have included notable agencies such as NYPD, LAPD, Las Vegas Metro PD, Arlington, TX PD, Seattle PD, Oakland PD, St. Louis PD, Baltimore PD, Salt Lake City PD, FBI, Portland PD, and many other cities and smaller agencies dedicated to doing good work and being transparent in their use of force.
Learn more and register HERE.