After the controversial shooting death of an unarmed motorist, the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office made sweeping changes yesterday in how it investigates use-of-force cases involving death or serious injury, says the Orlando Sentinel. The changes are meant to beef up the investigation team, speed up the inquiry process, and better ensure an impartial system. They will:
* Add a second prosecutor to probe all cases of officer-involved shootings and deaths of people who are in custody.
* Mandate that prosecutor (state attorney) prioritize officer-involved shootings and custody death cases. The more severe cases involving deaths and serious injuries will automatically move to the top of the list.
* Ensure that all use-of-force cases involving death or serious injury be investigated jointly by sheriff’s officials and Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers.
“Everyone has the same goal in mind,” said sheriff’s Chief Steve Jones. “We all want to do what’s right.” In some cases, investigations have dragged on for more than a year. Said another official: “We get into the case very deeply. It’s not just reading the cases and stamping good shoot or bad shoot.”