We approach each project from an independent perspective, understanding that organizational problems require
solutions tailored to the individual needs of the law enforcement agency and the community it serves.
COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
OIR Group has been repeatedly asked to evaluate the most sensitive and important responsibilities of police agencies, including use of force, internal affairs operations, complaint intake and investigations, training, and accountability. This top to bottom review examines these processes and provides recommendations based on best police practices.
CRITICAL INCIDENT REVIEW AND ANALYSIS
OIR Group has 15 years experience evaluating police shootings, in-custody deaths, and other critical incidents. Our members have rolled out to more than 400 shooting scenes and have observed and consulted on investigations in real time.
OIR Group members have developed a detailed understanding of the activities and commonalities that contribute to unnecessary or excessive force. In countless cases, OIR Group has worked to identify dangerous tactics in critical incidents and worked with agencies to develop remedial action plans to address them -- including accountability, training, policy development, and supervisory issues. OIR Group has also worked with police departments to ensure that their own internal investigation and review processes are thorough and unbiased.
CONDUCT AND EVALUATE TRAINING
OIR Group members have been asked to review law enforcement training at many agencies to assure compliance with principles of constitutional policing, to assess its effectiveness, and make recommendations for reform.
OIR Group members also have developed and delivered training to improve investigative skill sets for supervisors, principles of civil liability, interviewing for investigators, and the California Peace Officers Bill of Rights. We also have advised and trained newly formed civilian police review boards on their roles.
OIR Group is involved in evaluating the New York Police Department’s training that stemmed from the judgment in the federal stop and frisk case to ensure that the reforms promote Constitutional interactions between the police and the public.
OIR Group regularly provides POST sponsored training for supervisors on principles of Civil Liability and has provided oversight training for both the Riverside and Anaheim police review boards.
OIR Group was invited to hold a day-long training in Vancouver on techniques and challenges for use of force investigators at the newly established Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.
OIR Group has helped police departments draft well-tailored operations policies in difficult subject areas such as post-shooting interview procedures, use of video evidence, Taser use policy, and shooting at suspects in moving vehicles. We also assess the sufficiency and enforcement of existing policies and assist in agencies’ reform efforts on use of force, internal investigative and review protocols, internal affairs processes, and disciplinary guidelines.
In an independent review of use of force and Internal Affairs operations of the Denver Sheriff’s Department, OIR Group evaluated and made recommendations for reforming the Department’s use of force and force reporting policies as well as policies related to Internal Affairs functions. Following the release of our report, OIR Group continued to engage with City and County leaders to advise on implementation efforts. Report on the Use of Force & Internal Affairs Operations in the Denver Sheriff Department, 2015).
COMPLAINTS AND INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
A law enforcement agency’s legitimacy depends on its ability to conduct internal investigations into allegations of officer misconduct in a thorough, unbiased manner. We have reviewed internal investigations from a broad variety of law enforcement agencies to identify weaknesses in protocols, training and standards of review. When requested, OIR Group has conducted high profile internal affairs investigations, including the Kelly Thomas internal affairs investigations in Fullerton, California, and several internal investigations of the Oakland Police Department in which the subject officers were supervisors and/or members of command staff.
DISCIPLINE SYSTEM INTEGRITY AUDITS
OIR Group recognizes the ways in which conscious and unconscious bias can impact internal decision-makers’ objectivity and has worked to find ways to insulate the decisions from those influences. We also understand the importance of identifying problematic trends among officers and have evaluated early warning systems, disciplinary systems and outcomes to help agencies improve data collection and use of data to address patterns of at-risk behavior.
OIR Group undertook an independent review for the King County, WA Auditor’s Office of the Sheriff’s Department’s “early intervention system.” Our review evaluated the efficiency of the system’s implementation, quantified its timeliness and outcomes, and compared it’s overall effectiveness to comparable systems at several other benchmark police agencies.
DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF OVERSIGHT SYSTEMS
Independent oversight mechanisms are a key to sustainable reform. OIR Group has been at the forefront of the national effort to create meaningful civilian oversight for over a decade. We have designed and assisted oversight entities for law enforcement agencies to ensure effective monitoring of policies, training, review systems, and accountability mechanisms.
As a result of litigation involving the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, OIR Group worked with the federal court judge and the Special Master to create an oversight entity that monitors and provides quality control for internal CDCR investigations. We also conducted a peer review of the newly created oversight entity for the Court after two years of its existence.
EVALUATION OF ADVERSE CIVIL LITIGATION
An adverse civil liability judgment or large settlement agreement can raise concerns about a police agency’s broader operational processes. OIR Group has been tasked often with reviewing the allegations that gave rise to the liability and reviewing court transcripts with an eye toward identifying systemic issues that may have led to the exposure. The projects result in recommendations designed to improve procedures and reduce the likelihood of incurring future liability.
Independent Review of the Westminster Police Department, January 2015
ASSESSMENT OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS
OIR Group has been called upon to assess criminal investigations for completeness and alleged bias. We have reviewed these investigations to develop systemic recommendations designed to address community concerns and reduce future allegations.
Allegations Surrounding Investigation/Prosecution of Ignacio de la Fuente, Jr., Oakland, CA, January 2008
CUSTODY AND JUVENILE DETENTION ISSUES
Through its work with the Los Angeles and Orange County jails, OIR Group has gained a unique perspective on the use of force in custody facilities and the challenges presented by jail settings. OIR Group attorneys also evaluate internal investigations at juvenile detention facilities and design training and policy revisions to reduce misconduct.
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS FOR PANELS AND PRESENTATIONS
OIR Group members have appeared nationally on police practices and oversight panels and have presented many times at conferences and educational seminars. OIR Group presented written testimony at the request of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.