University of California Santa Cruz Police Department
UC Santa Cruz PD Policy Manual



Officer-Involved Shooting


The intent of this policy is to establish policy and procedures for the investigation of an incident in which a person is injured as the result of a police shooting and to ensure that such incidents be investigated in a fair and impartial manner.



This department conforms to the Santa Cruz County Law Enforcement Chief's Association Critical Incident Protocol for investigating officer-involved shootings.



The following procedures are guidelines used in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting.


Upon arrival at the scene of an officer-involved shooting, the first uninvolved supervisor should:

 (a) Take all reasonable steps to obtain emergency medical attention for all apparently injured individuals.

 (b) Attempt to obtain a brief overview of the situation from any non-shooter officer(s).

  1. In the event that there are no non-shooter officers, the supervisor should attempt to obtain a brief voluntary overview from one shooter officer.
 (c) If necessary, the supervisor may administratively order any officer from this department to immediately provide publicsafetyinformation necessary to secure the scene and pursue suspects.
  1. Public safety information shall be limited to such things as outstanding suspect information , number and direction of shots fired , parameters of the incident scene , identity of known witnesses and similar information.

 (d) Absent a voluntary statement from any officer(s), the initial on scene supervisor should not attempt to order any officer to provide other than public safety information.

 (e) Provide all available information to the Watch Commander and the Communications Center. If feasible, sensitive information should be communicated over secure networks.

 (f) Take command of and secure the incident scene with additional personnel until relieved by a detective supervisor or other assigned personnel.

 (g) As soon as practical, shooter officers should respond or be transported (separately, if feasible) to the station for further direction.

  1. Each involved officer should be given an administrative order not to discuss the incident with other involved officers pending further direction from a
  2. When an officer's weapon is taken or left at the scene (e.g., evidence), the officer will be provided with a comparable replacement weapon or transported to the station by other officers.


Upon learning of an officer-involved shooting, the Watch Commander shall be responsible      for coordinating all aspects of the incident until relieved by the Chief of Police or a Division Commander.


The following person(s) shall be notified as soon as practical:

  • Chief of Police
  • Division Commander
  • District Attorney OIS Rollout Team
  • Civil Liability Response Team
  • Management Representative from "Venue" agency and Employing Agency if different
  • Coroner (if necessary)
  • Officer Representative (if requested)
  • Sheriff's Department Crime Scene Unit

All outside inquiries about the incident shall be directed to the Division Commander (Captain).


A single press release shall be prepared with input and concurrence from the supervisor and agency representative responsible for each phase of the investigation. This release will be available to the Watch Commander, Detective Commander and the University Public Information Officer in the event of inquiries from the media.

It will be the policy of this agency to not release the identities of involved officers absent their consent or as required by law. Moreover, no involved officer shall be subjected to contact from the media (Government Code § 3303(e)) and no involved officer shall make any comments to the press unless authorized by the Chief of Police or a Division Commander. Law enforcement officials receiving inquiries regarding incidents occurring in other agency jurisdictions shall refrain from public comment and will direct those inquiries to the agency having jurisdiction and primary responsibility for the investigation. If an officer from another agency is involved in a shooting on campus, that officer's agency may assign a media liaison to work with University personnel in responding to press inquiries.


Once the involved officer(s) have arrived at the station, the Shift Supervisor should admonish each officer that the incident shall not be discussed except with authorized personnel or representatives. The following shall be considered for the involved officer:

 (a) Any request for department or legal representation will be accommodated, however, no involved officer shall be permitted to meet collectively or in a group with an attorney or any representative prior to providing a formal interview or report (Government Code § 3303(i)).

 (b) Discussions with licensed attorneys will be considered privileged as attorney-client communications.

 (c) Discussions with department representatives (e.g., employee association) will be privileged only as to the discussion of non-criminal information however.

 (d) A psychotherapist shall be provided by the Department to each involved officer, or any other officer, upon request.

  1. Interviews with a licensed psychotherapist will be considered privileged and will not be disclosed except to the extent that the officer is or is not fit for return to duty.
  2. An interview or session with a licensed psychotherapist may take place prior to the involved officer providing a formal interview or report, but the involved officers shall not be permitted to consult or meet collectively or in a group with a licensed psychotherapist prior to providing a formal interview or report.
 (e) Although the Department will honor the sensitivity of communications with peer counselors, there is no legal privilege to Peer counselors are cautioned against discussing the facts of any incident with an involved or witness officer.

Care should be taken to preserve the integrity of any physical evidence present on the officer's equipment or clothing, such as blood or fingerprints, until investigators or lab personnel can properly retrieve it.

Detectives shall make reasonable accommodations to the officer's physical and emotional needs (Government Code § 3303(d)).

Each involved officer shall be given reasonable paid administrative leave following an officer- involved shooting. It shall be the responsibility of the Shift Supervisor to make schedule adjustments to accommodate such leave.



It shall be the policy of this agency to utilize the District Attorney's Office to conduct an independent criminal investigation into the circumstances of any officer involved shooting involving injury or death. 

If available, detective personnel from this agency may be assigned to "partner" with investigators from the District Attorney's Office so as to not duplicate efforts in related criminal investigations.

Once public safety issues have been addressed, criminal investigators will be given the next opportunity to interview involved officers in order to provide the officer(s) with an opportunity to give a voluntary statement. The following shall be considered for the involved officer:

 (a) Supervisors and Professional Standards personnel should not participate directly in any voluntary interview of officers. (This will not prohibit such personnel from monitoring such interviews or indirectly providing areas for inquiry).

 (b) If requested, any involved officer will be afforded the opportunity to consult with a representative of his or her choosing or an attorney, prior to speaking with criminal investigators.

 (c) Any voluntary statement provided by the officer(s) will be made available for inclusion in the administrative or other related investigations.

 (d) Absent consent from the involved officer or as required by law, no administratively coerced statement(s) will be provided to any criminal investigators.


In the event that suspects remain outstanding or subject to prosecution for related offenses, this department shall retain the authority to require involved officers to provide sufficient information for related criminal reports to facilitate the apprehension and prosecution of those individuals (Government Code § 3304(a)).

While the involved officer may write the report, it is generally recommended that such reports be completed by assigned investigators who should interview involved officers as victims/witnesses. Since the purpose of these reports will be to facilitate criminal prosecution, statements of involved officers should focus on evidence to establish the elements of criminal activities by involved suspects. Care should be taken not to duplicate information provided by involved officers in other reports.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to deprive an involved officer of the right to consult with legal counsel prior to completing any such criminal report.

Reports related to the prosecution of criminal suspects will be processed according to normal procedures, but should also be included for reference in the investigation of the officer-involved shooting.


Because potential witnesses to an officer-involved shooting or other major incident may become unavailable or the integrity of their statements compromised with the passage of time, a supervisor should take reasonable steps to promptly coordinate with criminal investigators to utilize available personnel for the following:

 (a) Identify all persons present at the scene and in the immediate area.

  1. When feasible, a recorded statement should be obtained from those persons who claim not to have witnessed the incident but who were present at the time it occurred.
  2. Any potential witness who is unwilling or unable to remain available for a formal interview should not be detained absent reasonable suspicion to detain or probable cause to arrest. Without detaining the individual for the sole purpose of identification, officers should attempt to identify the witness prior to his/her departure.

 (b) Witnesses who are willing to provide a formal interview should be asked to meet at a suitable location where criminal investigators may obtain a recorded statement. Such witnesses, if willing, may be transported by department personnel.

  1. A written, verbal or recorded statement of consent should be obtained prior to transporting a witness in a department vehicle. When the witness is a minor, consent should be obtained from the parent or guardian, if available, prior to transportation.

 (c) Assign available personnel to promptly contact the suspect's known family and associates to obtain any available and untainted background information about the suspect's activities and state of mind prior to contact with officers.



In addition to all other investigations associated with an officer-involved shooting, this department will conduct an internal administrative investigation to determine conformance with department policy. This investigation will be conducted under the supervision of the Professional Standards Unit and will be considered a confidential peace officer personnel file.

 (a) Any officer involved in a shooting may be administratively compelled to provide a blood sample for alcohol/drug screening. Absent consent from the officer, such compelled samples and the results of any such testing shall not be disclosed to any criminal investigative agency.

 (b) If any officer has voluntarily elected to provide a statement to criminal investigators, the assigned administrative investigator should review that statement before proceeding with any further interview of that involved officer.

  1. If a further interview of the officer is deemed necessary to determine policy compliance, care should be taken to limit the inquiry to new areas with minimal, if any, duplication of questions addressed in the voluntary statement. The involved officer shall be provided with a copy of his or her prior statement before proceeding with any subsequent interview(s) (Government Code § 3303(g)) 

 (c) In the event that an involved officer has elected to not provide criminal investigators with a voluntary statement, the assigned administrative investigator shall conduct an administrative interview to determine all relevant information.

  1. Although this interview should not be unreasonably delayed, care should be taken to ensure that the officer'(s) physical and psychological needs have been addressed before commencing the interview.
  2. If requested, the officer shall have the opportunity to select an uninvolved representative to be present during the interview (Government Code 3303(i)). However, in order to maintain the integrity of each individual officer's statement, involved officers shall not consult or meet with a representative or attorney collectively or in groups prior to being interviewed.
  3. Administrative interview(s) should be recorded by the investigator (the officer may also record the interview) (Government Code § 3303(g)).
  4. The officer shall be informed of all constitutional Miranda rights (Government Code § 3303(h)) and, assuming  no  voluntary  waiver,  will  then  be  given  an administrative order to provide full and truthful answers to all questions (Government Code § 3303(e)). The officer shall be informed, however, that the interview will be for administrative purposes only and that the statement cannot be used criminally (The Lybarger or Garrity admonishment).
  5. The administrative interview shall be considered part of the officer's confidential personnel file.
  6. The Professional Standards Unit shall compile all relevant information and reports necessary for the Department to determine compliance with applicable policies.
  7. The completed administrative investigation shall be submitted to the Use of Deadly Force Review Board, which will restrict its findings as to whether there was compliance with the Department use of deadly force policy.
  8. Any other indications of potential policy violations shall be determined in accordance with standard disciplinary procedures.



A member of this department may be assigned to work exclusively under the direction of the legal counsel for the Department to assist in the preparation of materials deemed necessary in anticipation of potential civil litigation.

All materials generated in this capacity shall be considered attorney work product and may not be used for any other purpose. The civil liability response is not intended to interfere with any other investigation, but shall be given reasonable access to all other investigations.



Any officer involved in an incident may be permitted to review available Mobile Audio Video (MAV) or other video or audio recordings prior to providing a recorded statement or completing reports.

Upon request, non-law enforcement witnesses who are able to verify their presence and their ability to contemporaneously perceive events at the scene of an incident may also be permitted to review available MAV or other video or audio recordings with approval of assigned investigators or a supervisor.

Any MAV and other known video or audio recordings of an incident should not be publicly released during an ongoing investigation without consulting the District Attorney or University Counsel's Office as appropriate.




Policy 311 PDF