First of its Kind

Guest: Director Roger Rogoff, on building the new Office of Independent Investigations, the first of its kind in the country to investigate cases involving police use of deadly force.

In 2020, the police-involved killings of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma and George Floyd in Minneapolis were two cases among many incidents across the nation which led to the recent establishment of the Office of Independent Investigations (OII) earlier this summer in Olympia. Signed into law by Governor Inslee, the OII is a civilian-led agency that conducts investigations into police-involved incidents of serious harm or death. The agency’s creation offers an opportunity to improve public faith in police accountability.

In June 2022, Roger Rogoff became director of the new OII. Rogoff’s career in the criminal justice system spans 27 years, including roles as judge in King County Superior Court as well as in the juvenile courts, and as both prosecuting and criminal defense attorney. In addition to serving as assistant U.S. attorney, Rogoff most recently served as legal counsel for Microsoft on matters of data privacy and public safety. As Gov. Inslee stated, “Roger’s experiences make him exceptionally suited to lead an agency, independent of law enforcement or the governor’s office, to investigate cases.”

In this episode, Rogoff details how the OII is working thoughtfully and efficiently to fulfill its mission. He explains the office’s priorities for its first six months, law enforcement’s response to the agency’s creation, the way the OII will work with other parties, employment prospects, and how OII roles like family liaisons and community liaisons address the need for transparency around investigations of police use of force.

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