ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke Police Department announced on Friday that it has decided to have Virginia State Police handle the criminal investigation portion of all future officer-involved shootings.
"We welcome this move to an independent investigation associated with the circumstances surrounding officer-involved use of lethal force or in custody death," Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones said. "While we hope that such investigative circumstances will not be necessary, we believe this change will build upon the confidence our community already has established in our department. The continued trust between the police and the community is vital and it is obvious that many of our citizens, along with professional law enforcement associations, have expressed support for this type progressive transparency and change."
The police department says it's shared the policy with the Roanoke City Commonwealth's Attorney Donald Caldwell whose office is supportive of the department's initiative to make changes in the investigative process.
The Roanoke Police Department will continue with a parallel but separate internal investigation into all officer-involved shootings to determine if the officer's actions were within policy guidelines.
Those findings will continue to be shared with the police department's established Disciplinary Review Board, a panel which utilizes citizen representatives to review circumstances and to make recommendations to the Chief of Police related to disciplinary matters.