Law enforcement agencies – nationally and locally – are faced with the challenges of policing in these changing times, especially during “Use of Force” encounters. This is the reality of policing, so preparing for incidents which have the potential to escalate to serious injury or death, is a must.
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, was shot and killed, by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, MO, a suburb of St. Louis. The shooting prompted protests that unsettled the area for weeks. On August 11, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a civil rights investigation into the incident. On March 4, 2015, the federal investigation cleared Wilson of any civil rights violations and deemed the shooting “justified” based on the forensics and witness accounts.
The FBI is using the timeline as a platform to discuss the investigation with other law enforcement agencies. By sharing information, they hope to prepare law enforcement for an officer-involved shooting and help them understand what role the FBI will play federally if they simultaneously investigate.
On Monday, May 24, a training course, sponsored by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the FBI, reviewed facts which led to the shooting of Michael Brown, the obstacles they faced while sorting through the information to get the facts, the forensic evidence recovered, and what challenges law enforcement could expect in the future. Co-Case Agent, Special Agent Carolyn Cerone, stressed to the agencies the importance of partnerships within their communities and with other state and federal agencies. She explained that a solid partnership will lend itself to extended resources, information sharing, and overall community cooperation.
Attendees included several of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office partners: the Maryland State Police, Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, United States Coast Guard, Professors from the College of Southern Maryland, Parole and Probation, Recovery Court, Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy Instructors, DEA Task Force Group 48, as well as members of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
“Those who attended now have the factual predicate of what actually transpired that day, straight from the principal investigator,” said Sheriff Cameron. He added,”this presentation benefits attendees because they have the “lessons learned,” which can be used for educational and training purposes, in addition to reviewing policies and procedures to ensure they are up-to-date.”
On behalf of Sheriff Tim Cameron, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office extends their appreciation to Special Agent Carolyn Cerone, and the FBI Baltimore Field Office, for their presentation.
^^^^Special Agent Carolyn Cerone