Since September 2014, the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has evaluated 22 officer-involved shooting incidents.
Whenever a police officer shoots a citizen, whether the individual lives or dies, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Reno and Sparks police, and the Washoe County District Attorney work together to investigate the incident. There is no other mandated oversight.
According to the Washoe County Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) Protocol, when a Sparks police officer shoots a person, for instance, the OIS investigation team cannot be from the Sparks Police Department. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office or Reno Police Department conduct the investigation.
A forensic investigation team assesses the shooting scene in consultation with the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office. According to the protocol, it is strongly recommended that OIS team members are selected for having significant experience in investigations of homicide or other violent felonies.
The OIS team conducts an interview of the officer. The officer has the constitutional right to not answer questions and have an attorney present during questioning.
Investigators interview witnesses and compile physical and other evidence. A report is delivered to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.
The District Attorney then evaluates the evidence to determine if the shooting was justifiable under the state’s homicide laws, and all other applicable provisions of law.
Once the DA issues a final report, the case is considered closed. In the 22 officer-involved shootings since 2014, none have resulted in criminal charges being filed against a police officer. In brief, under Nevada homicide laws, if an officer fears for their life, whether an actual or perceived threat, they are authorized to use deadly force.
The following interactive map reflects where each of the 22 shootings occurred. Click the red dots for an introductory description of each harrowing incident and a link to the DA’s report.