Making the Call: Is there a lawyer in the house?
I recently received a call from a LEO after an officer involved shooting (OIS). I drove to the department and met with the LEO. He was, as James Bond would say, “shaken not stirred.” Thank God he was not injured. He was in the company of his support group that included his family and department brass. I introduced myself to him because we had never met. Although I knew his dad, a career LEO, he was a stranger to me until that night. Now we share a connection and a bond. It was an honor to be there for him when he needed representation.
In this instance, the call for my assistance came from his brother officer who was an FOP member and friend of mine. He contacted me when he heard about the shooting. He had my cell number and had no trouble reaching me. However, this occurred because of advanced planning. The LEOs in this department and the local FOP lodge coordinated efforts to make certain that LEOs are able to contact an attorney on a 24-hour basis. The attorneys you contact must be able to answer your questions, respond to the scene, make certain that proper procedures are followed and that your rights are protected.
The use of deadly force and the response of an attorney after an OIS have something in common: in either case, there are no mulligans. The mistakes made in the first 72 hours after an OIS will have a ripple effect for many years to come through the criminal investigation, media inquiries and any civil suit that follows. So, like anything else, plan ahead. Know what attorneys are experienced in this area and are willing to respond any time. There is a lot to do after an OIS. You will not have time to open a phone book to find an attorney.