Investigating officer involved shootings: What happens when officers discharge their weapons?

Within the past month, there have been two officer involved shootings on the Grand Strand, one in Horry County and one in Georgetown County.

These incidents usually raise eyebrows, and people often question whether the officer used excessive force.

In South Carolina, the State Law Enforcement Division, SLED, helps prosecutors determine if that is the case.

"Each case file investigation is going to be a little different and a little unique, so there are going to be differences in each investigation that we do," said Thom Berry, a spokesman with SLED. "In an officer involved shooting investigation, we are obviously going to be looking at the factual information about what transpired, what happened, what resulted in the incident itself. We will also look at any tangible evidence that may be available."

Following an officer involved shooting, the officer is usually put on light duty while the investigation is ongoing. They are also usually asked to take their time when filling out the incident report.

"It's just like any situation where you would be in shock. It's not the time where you would say, 'Hey, write down everything you remember,'" said Jimmy Richardson, 15th Circuit Solicitor.

Richardson said, "They are able to give a much better report later on."

Officers all go through the Criminal Justice Academy and continue training in the field. But the classroom doesn't always prepare your for real life.

Richardson says they need officers in the field who can react quickly, because a split second can be the amount of time between life and death.

"You don't have time to go through and look through a manual or think about a step process. It's really, 'I react in the the next split second or my partner has a good chance of losing his life or I have a good chance of losing mine,'" explained Richardson.

There were 42 officer involved shootings across South Carolina in 2013.