Officer Involved Critical Incidents Policy

View a PDF of the Officer Involved Critical Incidents Policy (PDF).

Effective Date: December 13, 2018 

Policy: To develop procedures for documenting and post-incident review of Officer involved critical incidents. 

Purpose: To properly document and review an Officer involved critical incident while also providing support services for personnel involved. 

General: For the purpose of this General Order, an Officer involved critical incident is defined as follows: 

A. The discharge of a firearm by a law enforcement officer, or other official conducting an enforcement activity, that results in human injury and/or death. 

B. Any incident in which a law enforcement officer sustains serious physical harm or death at the hands of another, to include “friendly fire” situations. 

C. Any incident involving the use of force by a law enforcement officer against another person resulting in serious physical harm or death. 

D. The death of a person while in-custody by a law enforcement officer. In-custody is defined as: a situation where there has been a formal arrest or when, under the totality of the circumstances, there has been a restraint of freedom of movement of the degree associated with formal arrests.


I. On-Scene Supervisor Duties for Officer Involved Critical Incidents: 

A. Ensure the scene is secure and medical aid has been rendered for anyone in need. 

B. Remove the involved employee(s) from the incident scene and from any victims, involved suspects, and media. 

C. Confiscate any weapon(s) used in the incident. If an Officer’s service pistol is confiscated, an attempt will be made to provide the Officer(s) with a firearm while still on the street. 

D. Assign an officer to transport the employee(s) involved in the critical incident back to the Shaker Heights Police Department. 

E. Notify the Chief of Police. 

F. Advise the Dispatch Center to contact a peer counselor if none are available at the scene. 

1. Make professional counseling available to the employee(s) and cooperate with reasonable requests of the employee, their family, EAP counselors, and religious counselors. 

G. Ensure that at least one employee remains with the employee(s) involved in the critical incident until a peer counselor arrives at the station. 

H. Insure the privacy of the involved employee and the peer counselor for any discussion. 

I. Any employee incidents which result in death or serious physical injury, and to facilitate emergency relief from duty, the highest-ranking supervisor on-duty shall advise the employee(s) involved they are being placed on Administrative Leave, pending an administrative review.

II. Support Services for Officer-Involved Critical Incidents 

A. Critical Incident Debriefing 

1. Life Balance or Cuyahoga County Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) will provide critical incident debriefing on an as-needed basis. 

2. Requests for critical incident debriefing services through Life Balance are to be made by the Chief of Police or his/her designee through the 24-hour toll-free number 1-877-259-3785 or at

3. The Cuyahoga Emergency Communications System (CECOMS) 24-hour local number to request the CISM Team, 1-216-771-1363 can be contacted. 

4. The call will be immediately directed to the division that handles critical incident debriefing requests at Life Balance or the professional team on call at CISM. 

5. Life Balance or CISM will arrange for consultants to appear at the debriefing, generally within a few hours of the incident, but no later than 24 hours after the incident. 

B. Consultation in Crisis Situations 

1. In the event that an employee is killed in the line of duty, Life Balance or CISM will provide limited consultation with employees as a group. Requests for this service must be made by the Chief of Police or his/her designee through Life Balance’s 24-hour number, 1-877-259-3785, or CISM’s Team by contacting CECOMS’ 24-hour number, 1-216-771-1363. 

III. Officer Involved Critical Incident Reporting 

A. As soon as practicable, the employee(s) involved shall immediately notify the Officer-in-Charge (OIC). 

B. An Incident Report shall be made covering the critical incident. 

1. The employee(s) involved shall provide a general verbal statement to complete the Public Record portion of the Incident Report before completing their tour of duty. 

2. In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article IV-Union Rights; Section 1), any employee covered under this Agreement and involved in a critical incident shall not be required to answer any questions or complete any written detailed reports until the expiration of 24 hours from the time of the critical incident. 

i. Any employee involved in a critical incident not covered by a collective bargaining agreement will be afforded the same 24-hour period as described above. 

3. Upon completion of the 24-hour time period described above, the employee(s) involved in the critical incident are required to complete a detailed written narrative report and any other associated reports required of the incident reporting process. (See GO0401, Response to Threats). 

4. The OIC of the involved employee(s) shall forward all reports through the proper channels when complete. 

IV. Post Officer Involved Critical Incident (Employee Return to Duty) 

A. An internal administrative review shall be made of the incident prior to the employee returning to regular duty. 

1. To return to regular duty, the police employee’s actions must be found to be within the scope of his/her authority. 

B. Prior to returning to regular duty, the Chief of Police or his/her designee will order a fitness for duty evaluation to be conducted by a designated psychiatrist of the City’s choosing. 

1. If the evaluation recommends the employee(s) not return to regular duty, the employee(s) shall be placed on sick leave until appropriate counseling is completed and a second fitness for duty evaluation recommends the employee’s return to regular duty. 

2. Any formal or informal documentation of the evaluation or its details shall be kept confidential and limited to the employee, psychiatrist, and the Chief of Police. 

V. Critical Incident Review Committee 

A. The critical incident may be reviewed by a Critical Incident Review Committee appointed by the Chief of Police which may include, but not limited to: 

1. Law Director or designate. 

2. Investigative Bureau Supervisor. 

3. OIC at the time of the incident. 

4. Two Citizen Members. 

B. The Critical Incident Review Committee shall submit a report to the Chief of Police citing: 

1. Relevant facts. 

2. Circumstances surrounding the incident. 

3. Conclusion as to whether the procedures followed during the incident violated any agency directive(s). 

VI. Officer-Involved Critical Incident Review for Training Purposes 

A. The critical incident may be critiqued by police personnel for training purposes. The panel for the critique may include: 

1. Certified Training Officer for the particular weapon and/or weaponless physical force involved. 

2. Training Coordinator. 

3. Employee(s) involved. 

4. Peer Representatives (preferably ones involved in the incident). 

5. Bureau Commanders. 

6. OIC at the time of the incident. 

B. A written critique shall be distributed to all sworn personnel after review by the Chief of Police.