When officers use force in the line of duty, an investigation of that use of force almost always occurs in an attempt to answer questions as to the appropriateness of the acts, the appropriateness of the level of force used, and so forth. These types of investigations are quite different that the typical detective’s enquiries.
Often times, the enquiry will feature a reconstruction of events. How this reconstruction occurs must follow a coherent system. It must be scientific. It must be as free from bias as possible.
The types of evidence examined and analyzed in a typical reconstruction spans several domains of forensic science. Reconstruction evidence can include wound path analysis, fired casing locations, witness statements, trajectory physics, ejection pattern testing, soot/stippling distance, multiple theory formulation, multiple theory visualization with actors, and ejection pattern overlays.
In the United States, the officers involved in the use of force are often given their own representatives and their own analysts as part of this process. These investigations happen at roughly the same time, but are independent of each other. Then, the two sides review each others’ work. This reproducibility is the heart of the science of the discipline – separating theory and conjecture from facts.
In developing a systematic and coherent methodology for shooting incident investigation and reconstruction, one of the best in the business has developed a curriculum that is evident in his recently updated book, Ferguson, MO: What Really Happened: A Systematic, Scientific Analysis (link).
Dr Bruce Krell’s work as an investigator and analyst informs his curriculum, presented by Apex Partners, Ltd., in our Shooting Incident Reconstruction course. You can find out about our many courses, request a quote for an training session at your location, or sign up for a course hosted at our offices in Henderson, NV, by clicking here.