Independent Investigation Team (IIT)

With the passage of Washington State Initiative 940 and SHB 1064, incidents where the use of deadly force by a peace officer results in death, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm, require an independent investigation.

Updated April 4, 2023

Background On Legislation

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a final report from the 21st Century Task Force on Policing. A core focus of that report addressed strategies for improving relationships, increasing community engagement, and fostering cooperation. The report recommended clear and comprehensive policies on the use of force, training on the importance of de-escalation, crisis intervention and mental health, the provision of first aid, and recommended external and independent investigations in officer involved shootings resulting in injury or death.

In November 2018, Washington State Initiative 940 was passed by Washington State voters, and in 2019 the Washington State legislature passed SHB 1064 and incorporated those recommendations. The Washington Administrative Codes (WACs) implemented the requirement of an Independent Investigation Team that is completely independent of the involved agency in incidents where the use of deadly force by a peace officer results in death, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm. The goal of this requirement is to enhance accountability and increase trust between law enforcement and the community to improve the legitimacy of policing for an increase in safety for everyone.

Independent Investigation

There are five principles that are fundamental to enhancing public trust in the integrity of independent investigations involving police use of deadly force:

  1. Independence
  2. Transparency
  3. Communication
  4. Credible process
  5. Credible investigators

The Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act (LETCSA), formerly known as I-940 or SHB 1064, has been signed into law by the Governor and is now in the hands of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC).  The Commission must create and adopt “rules” to establish training requirements (including first aid) and establish criteria for independent investigations of police deadly force incidents. Information on LETCSA can be found online.

Independent Investigation Team (IIT)

Will consist of a team of qualified and certified peace officer investigators and at least two non-law enforcement community representatives who operate completely independent of any involved agency to conduct investigations of police deadly force incidents.

An IIT is created when multiple law enforcement agencies enter into a written agreement to investigate police use of deadly force incidents in their geographical regions. A single law enforcement agency may fulfill the independent investigative function, provided it is not the involved agency.

Below is the list of the members of the SW Washington Independent Investigative Response (SWIIR) Team. 

Independent Investigation Team Non-Law Enforcement Community Representatives

The IIT Non-Law Enforcement Community Representatives should have credibility with, and ties to, the communities impacted by the police use of deadly force.  Representatives selected will participate directly in the vetting, interviewing, and/or selection of IIT certified law enforcement investigators, media communications, and use of involved agency equipment requests. 

This position requires the  community representative to pass a department/agency background check and attend identified training that is relevant to officer involved deadly force incidents.  The Non-Law Enforcement Community Representative must sign a binding confidentiality agreement at the beginning of each police use of deadly force incident investigation.

This is a non-paid volunteer position.