Use of deadly force investigation audits: Themes from the first year

Dec 14, 2023

As the first state auditor’s office in the nation to systematically review every local investigation into police use of deadly force, today the Office of the Washington State Auditor published a new summary report offering insights from its first year of these unique audits. 

When law enforcement officers use deadly force in an encounter, regional independent investigation teams review the incident. Use of deadly force investigation audits determine whether those teams complied with state laws and rules intended to protect the credibility and independence of the investigations. 

The State Auditor’s Office issued the first of these audits in the fall of 2022, and has since issued a total of 20 reports, with 14 additional audits in progress and about 70 investigations planned for review. 

This report explains the role of independent investigation teams and the standards they must meet. It summarizes common areas of noncompliance. And it makes recommendations to improve compliance to investigation teams, involved police departments and the state Criminal Justice Training Commission. 

Read the report below, or download a PDF copy of the report here: Use of Deadly Force Investigation Audits: Themes from the First Year