Releasing Information Following a Critical Officer involved Incident




Bowers, Hollis D.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Historically, law enforcement agencies have been unwilling or unable to properly deal with the release of information following a high profile officer involved critical incident. The mishandling of these types of incidents has led to mistrust of the department. While there is no magic bullet when it comes to dealing with these types of events, releasing as much information as possible in a timely accurate manner is the best strategy. By releasing timely, accurate information as early as possible following the event, the agency will better protect itself and its officers. The agency will reduce speculation that leads to distrust and civil unrest. As a governmental agency that is held accountable for its actions, a policy of transparency is a must. All lawenforcement agencies should have an aggressive, proactive plan to address these issue when they arise whether the officers involved acted exactly as they should have or not. All agencies will have one of these events arise and planning ahead of time and including all stakeholders in that plan is the only way to move forward. The recommendation is that every agency develop a proactive plan and policy to deal with these high profile officer-involved incidents.


Discussion about how Law Enforcement Agencies can handle release of information after a Critical Officer involved incident to reduce speculation and distrust.


Police and mass media, police community relations