- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The FBI will help investigate some officer-involved shootings and excessive force complaints against Kansas City police under an agreement with the local police department, officials said.

The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1IJM7zx ) reports that authorities announced Thursday that four cases were already under investigation, but they didn’t identify the cases.

Under the agreement, the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office, Jackson County prosecutor and the Kansas City police investigations bureau will review an incident and determine whether it should be investigated as a possible violation of federal civil rights or state law.

According to the agreement, if there is an indication of possible misconduct then federal investigators and prosecutors will remain involved in the investigation. If the conduct is deemed to have been justified, the federal officials will step back.

U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson says law enforcement agencies may correctly investigate themselves most of the time but that self-policing can leave a negative perception in the community.

“It is our hope it will go a long way to sustain public trust,” she said. “I have told agencies over and over again that if you have got a shooting, if you have got a use of force, I don’t care what it is, we need an independent third party to come in and investigate this.”

Officials say the agencies began discussing the arrangement 18 to 24 months ago.

“We have been trying to find ways to show transparency, to live up to the notion that all must be held accountable and nobody is above the law in any circumstance,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker

Eric K. Jackson, the special agent in charge of Kansas City’s FBI office, said recruits at the regional police academy will receive training from the FBI about civil rights violations.

Jackson says that the agreement is significant because “it brings the parties involved together to address these types of violations proactively.”

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