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Cops who shoot someone now have 24 hours to talk to independent reviewers

Updated: June 29, 2011 4:55PM

Chicago Police officers have won the right to a 24-hour cooling-off period from the time they shoot someone to the time they must speak to an independent investigator.

The Independent Police Review Authority last year insisted on speaking to officers within two hours of a police-involved shooting.

That sparked a fight with the Fraternal Order of Police.

An arbitrator has ruled that officers must be given a minimum of 24 hours before IPRA can question them about a shooting. The arbitrator also ruled the interviews must take place between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. That gives an officer a “proper sleep cycle,” the FOP said in a statement. The interviews usually take more than half an hour.

Police-involved shootings have climbed 50 percent from 36 in 2006 to 54 in 2010, according to the FOP. There were 11 of them in the first three months of this year.

Officers are often traumatized after such a shooting and need time to collect their thoughts, FOP spokesman Pat Camden said. An officer’s recall of events can be shaky right after a shooting, he said.

“I have seen a situation where they ask the officer ‘how many shots did you fire?’ and he says one or two — but he emptied his magazine,” Camden said. After a shooting, officers must immediately speak to an on-site Chicago Police Department incident commander to give the basic facts, Camden said. But that’s for administrative purposes, he said.

IPRA investigations are different because they could potentially lead to criminal charges, Camden said. Still, officers can talk to IPRA immediately if they wish, he said.

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