Officer-Citizen Deadly Force Encounters

ProcedurePolice Chiefs Association of Orange County Logo

To provide more predictable, uniform, and transparent responses to officer-involved deadly-District Attorneys Office Sealforce incidents, the District Attorney’s Office, together with every local police agency in the County, the Orange County Sheriff, and the New York State Police, has developed a uniform procedure for handling those incidents.

For purposes of the protocol, an “involved agency” means a police agency whose member has used deadly physical force resulting in death or serious injury to a suspect or bystander. The procedure, in general, requires the following.


The involved agency must notify the District Attorney’s Office, the State Police, and, if appropriate, the Orange County Medical Examiner, immediately after an incident occurs. The involved agency will also be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the scene and of the investigation until relieved by the State Police.


The District Attorney’s Office will be the lead investigative agency, with investigative support and on-the-scene forensics provided by the State Police. The District Attorney’s Office will consult with the Chief of the involved agency, including the Sheriff, if the case involves Sheriff’s personnel. Only at the request of the District Attorney’s Office will the involved agency provide investigative support.

The involved agency will be responsible for conducting any separate administrative investigation into whether the personnel involved violated departmental policy during the incident. The District Attorney-State Police investigation will take precedence over any such administrative investigation.

Public Information

The District Attorney, the State Police, and the head of the involved agency will coordinate the release of information to the press and to the public. Efforts will be made to release the most accurate and up-to-date information available that will not compromise the integrity of the investigation, within ethical limits.


The following video was prepared by law enforcement authorities in Lane County (Eugene), Oregon, concerning the dynamics of police-involved deadly-force encounters. The excerpts have been used with the permission of the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.