fatal police shooting
Image from police bodycam video just before a fatal officer-involved shooting in Logan Heights this year. Image via San Diego Police Department YouTube

Law enforcement leaders in San Diego County announced a new regional approach Wednesday to investigating police shootings, touting the changes as a means of avoiding public perceptions of bias stemming from the common practice of agencies evaluating their own use of deadly force.

Under the revamped guidelines, slated to go into effect May 1, the San Diego Police Department will probe all uses of lethal force on the part of personnel with any other law enforcement agency in the county, and sheriff’s detectives will handle such incidents involving the SDPD.

“We are dedicated to building a culture of trust with the people we serve,” the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department asserted in a prepared statement. “The new guidelines reflect the public’s desire for greater integrity and independence in investigating deputy- and officer-involved shootings.”

Officials from various area law enforcement agencies discussed the new protocols during an afternoon news conference at the Sheriff’s Technology and Information Center in Kearny Mesa. Among those leading the briefing were SDPD Chief David Nisleit, county Undersheriff Kelly Martinez, Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy and District Attorney Summer Stephan.