The Champaign Police Department has completed its internal review of an incident involving a police officer discharging a firearm during a call for service on November 17, 2012, in which police officers were dispatched to a call involving a vicious pit bull in the area of John and Crescent streets. During this incident, two dogs were shot while engaged in a fight. One of the dogs was fatally wounded.
Per departmental policy, an internal investigation was conducted in accordance with the Firearms Discharge Investigation and Review policy. Policy statement 1.5 requires that a Professional Standards Investigation be completed in the event of an officer firearms discharge. See Policy and Procedure Manual for complete policy statement.
A Professional Standards Investigation was completed in order to:
1. Determine whether or not the firearm discharge was consistent with departmental policy
2. Evaluate training considerations
3. Evaluate policy considerations
4. Evaluate firearms equipment
5. Evaluate the quality of supervision prior to, during, and after the firearm discharge incident
The Firearms Discharge Review Board (“Board”) evaluated each aspect of a firearm discharge and issued findings and recommendations to the Police Chief concerning the following:
1. Use of deadly force (Policy 1.3)
2. Weapons requirements
3. Quality of supervision
4. Firearms / equipment considerations
5. Policy considerations
6. Training considerations
The Chief of Police is reviewing the findings and recommendations of the Professional Standards Investigation and Firearms Discharge Review Board to determine and implement the following:
1. What, if any disciplinary action for the involved officer is warranted.
2. Whether policy changes are required.
- Consistent with the Board’s recommendation, Policy 1.5 will be revised to require that a certified Department armorer complete a functional weapons inspection of each firearm that is discharged, regardless of whether or not a malfunction is alleged or suspected.
- Further consistent with the Board’s recommendation, the Use of Force Policy will be revised to specifically state that an aggressive animal must present an imminent threat to a human being before deadly force would be authorized.
3. Whether additional training will be required.
- Consistent with the Board’s recommendations and given the importance of the Use of Force Policy (1.3), in addition to the fact that there have been three (3) weapons discharged by members of this Department in the past 90 days, the policy will be reviewed by all sworn employees on a more regular basis. The Chief plans to implement a quarterly refresher through the department’s Policy and Procedure Manager (PPM), training bulletins, and/or shift briefings.
- Moreover, because the Department does not currently offer formalized training on “encountering aggressive dogs”, the Chief plans to begin offering trainings that will help curtail deadly force encounters with canines.