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FDLE Special Agent In Charge Speaks About Investigating Police & Deputy Involved Shootings

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BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Over a span of 12 days in September, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel went before television cameras three times to explain why his deputies shot people in three separate criminal cases.

"I was sorry that this tragedy happened," Israel told a community group in Pompano Beach after deputies encountered Greg Frazier during a domestic disturbance call in early September and shot him and killed him.

That case and two others led Israel to ask Troy Walker, the Special Agent in Charge of FDLE's Southern Region, to handle the investigation of all of BSO's deputy involved shootings.

Walker told CBS4 News on Tuesday that it's important for an outside agency to handle these cases.

"It does restore confidence in the community that the agency that's been impacted by the event that they take it serious and that they want a thorough and complete investigation," Walker said.

Walker said FDLE is accustomed to investigating police involved shootings.

They investigate police involved shootings for Miami-Dade Police – like one last week in Northeast Miami-Dade – as well as more than two dozen other police agencies across South Florida from Palm Beach County to Monroe County.

He said his teams collect evidence, interview witnesses, victims and police and try to find all the clues to what happened between officer and victim and why.

He said investigator's first question is, "What was the catalyst? What started this event on its course?"

Walker explained that his agents write a thorough a report on each shooting and turn it over to prosecutors.

Prosecutors then decide whether a shooting was justified.

Walker understands that the public wants answers in these emotional cases but he preaches patience.

"Patience is important," Walker said. "These are very important investigations. They're all high profile and the process is not a short process."

At Miami-Dade Police shooting scene last week – like all the other police involved shootings – Walker shows up to personally view the evidence and the scene.

"I want to walk the scene and have an idea what happened as well," Walker said.

The tensions between police and communities over police involved shootings have boiled over across cities around the U.S, like recent riots in Charlotte after the shooting death of Keith Scott.

South Florida has not been subject to this type of violence and Walker wants to keep it that way.

He makes it a point to be open and honest with the community.

"Having a candid discussion with the public, making yourself available and answer those hard questions," Walker said, explaining how he dialogues with the community.

This veteran officer believes in community involved policing and for officers to get to know their community members and vice versa.

"No matter what agency you run, small or large, it can be a five-man department or a 5,000-man department, but at least know the temperature of the community that you protect and serve," Walker said.

Walker said due to the increased caseload investigating police-involved shootings and deaths of people in custody FDLE's Southern Region gained a squad of seven officers and one supervisor.

Since 2015, Walker said FDLE has investigated 36 police and deputy-involved shootings across South Florida.

He said some of those cases remain under investigation and, at this point, no charges have been filed against officers in any of those cases.


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