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Updated Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

While critical incidents are something to which officers are dispatched many times throughout their career as first responders, traumatic incidents that involve the officer themselves as a victim, principal, or custodial officer, demand particular and specialized attention. These incidents affect not only the officers involved, but their families, the department as a whole, and the community. In an attempt to addresses the various needs that stem from Officer Involved Critical Incidents we have further developed our SOP to provide guidance to all who are impacted by these unique and challenging circumstances.

This SOP is the result of months of collaborative effort involving various contributors from both inside and outside the department, to include the Madison Police Department (MPD) Management Team; the Madison Professional Police Officer Association; members of the MPD Officer Involved Shooting Team; MPD Personnel and Training Team representatives; the Dane County Sheriff's Office; City of Madison Employee Assistance Program representatives; the Office of the City Attorney; the Office of the District Attorney; and feedback from officers involved in past critical incidents, as well as from the community. In keeping with ongoing department efforts to streamline MPD policies and more accurately distinguish between policy and procedure, this SOP is consistent with our commitment to continuous improvement. It represents best practices for the investigations that often accompany these incidents as well as in providing both immediate and long-term support for involved officers.

Each OICI provides an opportunity for assessment and improvement to better serve the community and the process of responding to, investigating, and providing guidance to personnel involved. This updated SOP includes the following key improvements:

* Broader definition of an OICI beyond just those involving the use of deadly force

* Includes procedures for a blood draw

* Recorded officer interviews

* Defines the role of the outside observer

* Link between the OICI SOP and the Major Case SOP

* Provides a conflict of interest form for team members

* Expands roles and responsibilities of MPD staff

* Preserves the separation of the criminal investigation and administrative review

* Enhances current Peer Support/CISM support by establishing a comprehensive Officer Aftercare protocol

It is important to note that examinations of police responses to officer involved critical incidents are not just a local initiative, but a national trend. Throughout the country, legislation such as that currently in committee here in Wisconsin (AB 409) aimed at establishing uniformed practices and multi-agency investigations into deaths involving law enforcement officers is being introduced. As we enter into the professional and public discourse on this issue, the Madison Police Department is considered a leading agency at both the local and state level in addressing the concerns that this legislation both illuminates and seeks to remedy.

All Officer Involved Critical Incidents pose considerable challenge to officers, department members, and the community. It is our hope that by expanding and improving our OICI SOP, we can mitigate these challenges, support our officers through consistent, competent, and compassionate practices, and continue to provide the excellent services that citizens have come to expect from the Madison Police Department.

To view the SOP click on the provided link.


  • Joel DeSpain, 266-4897