/ Modified mar 2, 2022 8:26 a.m.

A team will investigate use-of-force incidents in Pima County

Sheriff Chris Nanos said shootings and other serious use of force incidents will be criminally investigated by the team.

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John DeSoto/AZPM Staff

Pima County is establishing an interagency team to investigate serious use-of-force incidents among law enforcement county-wide.

The new Pima Regional Critical Incident Team includes the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, the Tucson Police Department and surrounding police forces from South Tucson, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, the University of Arizona, Pima County Community College, Marana and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Representatives from each entity unveiled plans for the team in a press conference Tuesday.

Sheriff Chris Nanos said shootings and other serious use of force incidents will be criminally investigated by the team and their findings will be given to the county attorney’s office.

"If the Sheriff’s Department is the shooting agency, we would step aside and turn over the investigation of that shooting to the rest of the team," he said.

Nanos said departments would still carry out their own administrative reviews of incidents.

Ten people died last year in Pima County’s Adult Detention Complex — the highest death toll in the last decade. When asked whether in-custody deaths like those would be investigated by the new team, Nanos said he "hopes so."

While the new team would investigate use-of-force incidents among participating police departments, Nanos and other police chiefs said investigations into use of force incidents from federal agencies, like Border Patrol or the FBI, would happen at the discretion of the federal agencies involved.

Last month, the Arizona Legislature put forth a bill that would require all law enforcement agencies operating in the state to get an outside review of law enforcement shootings. Those investigations would be done through a new Department of Public Safety office.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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