Dallas County DA creates policy for investigating officer-involved shootings

The Dallas County district attorney has set guidelines for investigators handling officer-involved shootings.

The new policy includes set times for gathering evidence, conducting interviews and presenting the case to a grand jury.

The new DA has only been in office two months, but he says Dallas County has been let down by a perception of bias, which is one reason he's come up with this protocol.

District Attorney John Creuzot has taken action on what he says Dallas County deserves: more transparency in how officer-involved shootings are handled and a much quicker timeline.

According to the new Dallas DA protocol, law enforcement agencies have 12 hours to hand over all digital evidence from an officer-involved shooting, including 911 calls, body camera video and dash cam video. The agencies have 45 days to submit the case to the DA.

“We have more officer-involved shootings. We have more allegations of racial bias in shootings, and so we need to get these cases resolved,” he said.

Creuzot says this was not an idea from another district attorney's office, and the DA's office has never had protocol like this. He says members of his staff suggested it and he’s worked with local police chiefs to compromise on timelines that could work.

“We've put timelines on the police, and we've put timelines on ourselves,” he said.

The protocol states that the DA's office will present each officer-involved shooting case within 90 days of receiving it.

“Ninety days after we get everything, we are obligated to take it to the grand jury and let them make the decision,”Cruezot said.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata says he agrees with the protocol.

“If that helps with transparency and trust from the public, absolutely, no issues,” he said.

And Mata says the 90-day rule would help police. He says he currently has three police officers who have been suspended with pay for about a year and are waiting for their day in court because they were involved in a shooting.

“We need to get these cases resolved,” Creuzot said. “It's a burden on us. It's a burden on both families.”

The protocol also applies to death in-custody investigations.

The DA says if a law enforcement agency does not get a case to them within 45 days without a good reason for the delay, then the DA's office will go to the grand jury and subpoena police.