Checklist for Supervisors of Law Enforcement Officers Involved in Critical Incidents

442 FW 6
Originating Office
Division of Technical and Field Support

The immediate supervisor of a Service LEO involved in a critical incident must:

If possible, go immediately to the scene of the critical incident. When you arrive, ensure that medical assistance is being provided, the scene has been secured, and the appropriate law enforcement authorities have been notified.

Advise the involved LEO to consider consulting an attorney before making any verbal or written statements. Ask the involved LEO only those questions you need to fulfill serious incident reporting requirements (see 054 FW 1).

If possible, have the involved LEO leave the scene of the critical incident.

Notify the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) [for Office of Law Enforcement agents] or Regional Director (RD) for Refuge LEOs] through the appropriate chain of command and act as their on-scene primary point of contact. Supervisors of Refuge LEOs should also contact their appropriate Zone Officer and may delegate some of these responsibilities to the Zone Officer as appropriate.

In cooperation with the investigating law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the critical incident, determine whether the investigating agency or the Office of Law Enforcement/National Wildlife Refuge Law Enforcement (OLE/NWRS) will take any weapon(s) the involved LEO used. You:

Must be an LEO to take possession of any weapon(s).

Must ensure chain of custody and forensic integrity are maintained for any weapon(s).

May issue a replacement firearm to the involved LEO, but the LEO does not have to accept it.

Try to notify the immediate family members of the involved LEO, if the involved LEO desires, and provide details as appropriate before any media report the incident. Do not report the involved LEO’s name to the media. Consult with local law enforcement or others trained in notifications before notifying family members of LEOs who have been injured or killed.  

Safeguard the LEO’s personal and Government property.

Assist the LEO in identifying and notifying a third party (i.e., relative, friend, co-worker) to:

- Ensure that immediately after the incident the LEO is not isolated or left alone for any extended period of time.

- Provide the LEO with essential needs such as food, water, and shelter.

Report serious incidents in accordance with 054 FW 1.

If the critical incident meets the criteria of a use of force reportable incident (see 442 FW 2), complete a Discharge of Firearm/Use of Force form (FWS Form 3-2401). The purpose of the form is to consolidate specific details necessary for the Service to complete a comprehensive investigation and review of the incident. (See 442 FW 3 for more information on Boards of Review.) 

If appropriate, ensure the involved LEO receives mental health counseling and assessment or critical incident stress management services described in 442 FW 6 sections 6.9 and 6.10.

Following a critical incident, monitor the behavior of the LEO for symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In coordination with your SAC or Assistant Regional Director/NWRS and Regional Human Resources office, ensure that the involved LEO seeks assistance from a designated mental health professional if the LEO’s behavior is disrupting job performance or impacting requirements to carry a firearm.