Why Wyoming Police are handling Kent County officer-involved shooting investigation

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jan 27, 2017

WYOMING, Mich. -- An officer-involved shooting that killed 30-year-old Jonathan Sper on Tuesday night is still under investigation.

A little after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a Kent County Sheriff's Department deputy shot Sper while responding to a domestic call involving him and his brother in Algoma Township. Officials say he was in a manic state and did not listen to their orders.

From that point, it became crucial another agency step in to investigate the shooting.  It's protocol, but how do they pick the agency to step in and carry out that investigation?

It has to do with pre-negotiated partnerships when we're talking about outsourcing an officer-involved shooting investigation.

When one occurs, time is of the essence.  Preserving the scene, relieving the officers involved, interviews, collecting evidence -- it all has to start immediately.

Not all police departments can handle an investigation at the drop of a hat, so these agencies plan ahead.

"We will investigate certain types of incidents like an officer-involved incident we would investigate for them and they would investigate for us," said Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Lajoie-Young.  "We actually have that agreement in place with several other agencies around the county that will do investigations for them.  But Wyoming is the one that does it for us."

Undersheriff Young said it's important to prepare a plan so that when it happens they aren't scrambling to find an agency that might not have the resources set aside to step in and help.

"It's a quick call and we have a contact person who is already lined up," she said.

The investigation into the shooting is still ongoing and the deputy who fired the shot is on paid administrative leave.