The Washington State Legislature created OII in 2021 to conduct thorough, transparent, and unbiased investigations of cases that involve police use of deadly force. OII is unique in the nation, being led by a civilian director and tasked with developing a plan to eventually include civilian investigators on its teams.
The agency was a key recommendation from the Governor’s Task Force on Independent Investigations of Police Use of Force, which Gov. Jay Inslee formed after widespread public outcry in response to recent fatal police use of force cases where victims were often Black men and women, and other people of color.
To conduct fair, thorough, transparent, and competent investigations.
All investigations of police use of force will be free from bias and trusted by everyone.
We conduct ourselves with Integrity because everyone deserves to be treated with honesty, dignity, and respect.
We work with unwavering Dedication because everyone is entitled to the truth.
We will be Accountable because building trust requires transparency.
We progress through continuous Improvement because changing the way we do things takes courage and thoughtfulness.
We are committed to Equity because it is time for change.
The OII Advisory Board
The statute creating OII also directed the establishment of the OII Advisory Board to work with the new agency and advise it on policies and procedures. This 11-member board includes family affected by incidents of police use of deadly force, law enforcement, community members, a representative of a federally recognized Washington tribe, a mental health professional, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a member of the Criminal Justice Training Commission.
OII has an office in Olympia and will be opening an office in Spokane. Additional regional offices are planned for Central Washington with three more on the west side of the state.
The agency has a budget for 80 staff members, about half of them being investigator positions. Other positions include:
- Family liaisons to inform and support relatives of those killed or hurt in the deadly force incidents OII investigates.
- Community relations liaisons to maintain ongoing engagement with local community groups.
- Tribal liaisons to keep Washington state's tribal organizations informed of OII activities and engaged.