Cutting Edge Training

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In-Custody Death Investigations

In-Custody Death Investigations
Next Available Seminar:

Length: two days, 16-hours.

Also available: Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation.

This is a unique course designed to provide investigators, command officers, administrators, prosecutors and risk managers with a depth of the technical information needed to conduct thorough and objective in-custody death investigations. The primary emphasis is on the identification and anticipation of critical investigative issues, preparing the investigator to conduct a quality investigation into the circumstances surrounding a sudden and unexpected death following a forceful arrest of an individual who was likely under the influence of some type of drug, was mentally ill, or both. The stakes in this type of case is high and the investigation will be publicly and legally scrutinized, often for years.

The topic of in-custody death is subject to many misunderstood and often incorrect theories that were adopted within the law enforcement training and command before being debunked as bad science. These false concepts, including “positional asphyxia,” carotid restraints, TASERs, and kneeling on the back of a struggling suspect as the cause of death, continue to proliferate through the media (both professional and social media), police training, and the plaintiffs’ bar and their experts. This course provides the agency investigator, command officer, District Attorney, and City/County Attorney with up to the minute facts and methods of objectively interviewing the involved and witness officer(s). The interviews must be effective to meet the purposes to which it will be used in various stages of the post-incident legal and administrative process. Within the overall investigative process, the focus of the interviews must be both specific and comprehensive.

The course, taught by two seasoned investigators (one an attorney and certified risk manager), is delivered via a mixture of lecture, facilitated discussion, and learning activities that include simulated interviews and the analysis of actual videos where in-custody death has occurred. The course is designed to provide an evolutionary leap in the competency of every investigator attending the course and is unlike any other type of In-Custody Death Investigation training found elsewhere.

Course topics include:

  • History and Definition of In-Custody Deaths.
  • Theories of Police Culpability Versus Science.
  • Criminal and Administrative Bifurcation.
  • Standards of Lawful Force.
  • TASER Forensics.
  • Eyewitness Dynamics.
  • Conducting effective interviews of involved officer(s).