GBI sees increase in officer-involved shootings, gets equipment to help

GBI sees increase in officer-involved shootings, gets equipment to help
GBI sees increase in officer-involved shootings, gets equipment to help
Posted at 4:02 AM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 23:07:06-05

ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - Each year, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it investigates more officer-involved shootings than the previous year. The GBI relates that to the amount of violence currently being seen throughout the country.

Agents said the investigations are lengthy and are putting a strain on their resources.

They have come out with new equipment in hopes to make the process more efficient and faster.

"These type of cases, these use of force cases take a lot of resources. They are very intensive and very much scrutinized, as they should be," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

GBI agents said they have worked 99 officer-involved shootings this year. With less than two months left in the year, they appear to be on track to match 102 that were investigated last year.

Officer-involved shooting investigations are something the department has seen an increase in over the past several years.

"It put a strain on our resources for the GBI to the point that we were having to take agents out of the child sex trafficking unit and public corruptions to respond to use of force," said Keenan.

In South Georgia, the GBI has assisted with 5 officer-involved shootings this year.

Keenan said he believes the increase is directly tied to the level of violence that currently exists in the US.

"Many times it's because the officer is involved in a gun battle, I believe the amount of use of force directly relates to the amount of force used against law enforcement," said Keenan.

Ten new 3D Scanners are now helping to make the process of investigating officer-involved shootings faster.

The machine takes a scan of the entire crime scene in 2 to 3 minutes and allows the agents to use that throughout there investigation to validate witness or officer testimonies of what happened.

The 3-D scanners cost $100,000 each so, in total, with 10 of them, that's $1 million spent on equipment.

Keenan said that cost doesn't compare to being able to solve a case and get justice for families or answers for law enforcement departments.

In Georgia, the GBI investigates all use of force situations between law enforcement and the public, it's not a mandated law but it's just the way things have been done for years now.

GBI Agents said they have good cooperation with all law enforcement agencies during these investigations because they are invited to help instead of being forced.

"A state mandate would not necessarily bring on that cooperation, it would hinder that investigation," said Keenan.

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