Bend Police Shooting First Test Of Deadly-Force Policy
State required counties devise plan
Last Friday's deadly officer involved shooting in northeast Bend is the first incident in which Deschutes County police agencies have put a newly coordinated deadly force plan into use.
Born from a controversial police shooting in Portland, the Deschutes County policy approved by the state Department of Justice less than a month ago comes after lawmakers ordered all Oregon counties to develop such procedures.
Deschutes County's 10-page Deadly Physical Force Plan was approved by the state attorney general on April 16.
It contains the procedures for what officers and administrators must do after a deadly shooting.
First, the officers have to keep evidence intact. Then, with a separate investigator, they must do a walk-through at the scene of what happened. Then each officer involved must leave and go straight to a police station.
All guns must be seized. Then the interviews start, and the officer is allowed to have a lawyer present.
All these factors will be turned over to the district attorney, who will decide whether the shooting was justified.
If Deschutes County DA Mike Dugan finds the officer in the wrong, or if it's too close to call, he'll send it to a grand jury.
"It's a very traumatic thing when an officer's involved with a shooting incident and even more so" in a deadly incident, he said Friday. "It's unfortunate when somebody's life has been taken. We have to determine how, what, when, where, why to make sure we make the right decision."
The document's purpose statement says the plan is "...to provide a framework for a consistent response to an officer's use of deadly physical force that treats the law enforcement officer fairly, and promotes public confidence in the criminal justice system."
Right now, four Central Oregon Drug Enforcement officers are on administrative leave at least through Monday morning.
The shooter, Bend police Det. Tom Brown, a 14-year-veteran, is off until a decision is made, and until he has required mental health counseling, under the policy.
"When we get that investigation done and we determine what kind of incident it was, we'll be making full disclosure to the public," Dugan assured NewsChannel 21.
All police officers are trained a minimum of four hours a year on use of force.
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