Tacoma police officials launch Internal Affairs investigations when officers use deadly force or are accused of misconduct that could lead to economic sanctions.
Detectives do an initial review and, if they learn the allegation is false, the matter ends.
If the officer's action violated department policies, then the officer faces discipline, such as retraining, counseling or suspension.
If the officer might have committed a crime, the internal review is suspended and an appropriate law enforcement agency conducts a separate criminal investigation.
The results of the criminal investigation are sent to prosecutors for a decision on whether charges should be brought.
Evidence from the criminal investigation is provided to Internal Affairs so its review can be completed and discipline ordered, if needed.