The Kentucky State Police agency has formed a special unit to investigate shootings of civilians by state troopers as well as by police officers for other departments in the state, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. The Critical Incident Response Team – made up of three lieutenants, two sergeants and a detective – will automatically investigate when a state trooper shoots somebody. It doesn’t have the legal authority to force other law enforcement agencies to cede control of their own investigations but will intercede if asked. The team, stationed in Frankfort, has investigated five cases this year.
State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders emphasized that the unit isn’t tasked with determining whether a shooting was justifiable. Commonwealth’s attorneys decide if a case goes to a grand jury. “Our objective is just to gather the facts,” he said. State officials said the team’s focus is on conducting quality, transparent investigations into police shooting cases, which in recent years have attracted significant public scrutiny, sparked debates about the use of force by police and amplified calls for independent investigations.