GBI says there is an increase in officer involved shooting investigations than last year
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Georgia communities have seen an increase in officer-involved shootings.
It is standard policy for most agencies to turn over those investigations to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The latest officer-involved shooting in our area was in Walker County.
And in all of these situations, ONE officer has faced charges. That shooting was in Kingsland, GA.
Officials say they are still working to determine what can be attributed to this spike, but they have one reassurance for the public even with this increase.
GBI Spokesperson Nelly Miles says, “We put a lot of resources into these investigations. They are priority for the agency so there are times when we pull people off of the drug investigations or from the drug unit or other units to be able to respond to these [investigations],” says Miles.
She says, “the public should have trust and confidence in what’s happening in Georgia because of how the process is set up.”
Miles says, “it is very important right off the bat to make it clear that until 2016 we were not investigating all them. A lot of the larger metro Atlanta agencies do have the resources to do this on their own but after incidents, like Ferguson, even those agencies recognize how important it is to have an independent agency do it for the sake of public perception of transparency so they turned over to us.”
Miles says there are certain factors that are critical to determining what all transpired leading up to an officer using force in a situation.
Miles says, “We’re still trying to make an assessment about what is going on. It is still a little bit too early for us to tell. There have definitely been some patterns in some of the cases that we have investigated. Most of them for 2018 are still open.”
“There are situations in many cases where people present themselves in a mental health crisis. We have situations where drugs may have been involved. We have situations where someone may be in the commission of the crime and then there are situations that don’t fit in the perfect little box,” says Miles.
Miles stated that sometimes there is a misconception about the GBI’s involvement when in fact it should be a reassurance to the public.
Miles believes, “We are a neutral party, we’re in the middle of the road and we are not in there, we are not coming with an agenda we are just trying to see the truth of what’s happening. Get to the bottom of what’s occurring in the cases.”
Miles says there is no mandates or laws that requires an agency to contact the GBI.” She says these agencies “want to be transparent, they want to get answers out there and that’s why we get called. I also want people to know we are transparent in our investigation because we know the public has a right to know because law-enforcement has a duty to provide that information.”Nelly Miles say that if anyone
Nelly Miles say that if anyone every has a question about how they handle these investigations. They has a use of force policy manual that is available for review.
Here is the book on how GBI agents handle officer-involved shootings.