What should I do if I am involved in a critical incident?

A critical incident is a serious injury or death caused by an officer’s operation of a motor vehicle or the application of force, and most often include officer-involved shootings. Although required to make a public safety statement, the officer should provide only a brief narrative outline of the general circumstances surrounding the critical incident, for purposes of conducting further investigation, developing a crime scene and preserving public safety. The officer should refrain from detailing his or her state of mind as to the justification or actions taken. Do not make any other statements about the incident, other than the public safety statement. Do not speak with fellow officers about the incident, as tempting as it might be.

After providing your public safety statement, and assuming the scene is secured, you should immediately contact any LAAPOA Board Member via their cell phone or at 310-242-5218 to obtain legal representation. If it is after the 5pm leave a message and the available on-call union rep will be paged with your message. After contacting a LAAPOA Board Member, your legal representative will be notified and will promptly arrive on scene.

At no time should you provide any information or statement to anyone at the Department without first having spoken with your legal representative. If anyone attempts to ask you questions or obtain information from you, refer them to the LAAPOA Board Member or your legal representative. If the Department compels you to make a statement prior to having spoken with your legal representative, you should record the interview and read the following statement on the recording prior to being interrogated: “I understand that I am being ordered to make a report or answer questions and that if I do not comply with the order, I may be disciplined for insubordination. Therefore, I have no alternative but to abide by the order. However, by doing so, I do not waive my Constitutional rights to remain silent under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and the protections afforded me under case law. Furthermore, by submitting to this coerced interview, I am waiving no right afforded me under the Public Safety Officer’s Bill of Rights Act.”

Whether an involved officer will provide a statement to criminal investigators is made on a case-by-case basis only after speaking with your legal representative.