"I've heard that question asked before and that's not something I can really comment on in terms of who does the fact-finding mission, if you will. Those are decisions that are made on different levels," said Howard Payne, a Madison Police Department spokesman.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office appointed a lieutenant to shadow the internal fact-finding. Madison police have done that in the past when county deputies have been involved in shootings.

Frei, who has been in law enforcement for 20 years, said he couldn't remember the last time a local officer was actually found at fault in a shooting. Heimsness continues to serve as treasurer of the police union.

Amelia and Nathan Royko Maurer, Heenan's roommates on South Baldwin Street, called the premise of the internal investigation "absurd."

"They're investigating themselves -- doesn't that seem absurd?" asked Amelia Royko Maurer. "And then (Ozanne) gets to decide whether criminal charges are brought against this officer -- that seems so totally outrageous."

Heenan's roommates said that even with a final decision, they and other neighbors remain stunned over the shooting.

"The officer gets a second chance on life or continued duty on the force," Nathan Royko Maurer said. "Our friend Paulie gets nothing, and his family gets nothing."

"We're angry, and we're sad, and our hearts are broken for his parents," Amelia Royko Maurer said. "Even if the DA had done the right thing and charged Stephen Heimsness, they still don't get their son back."

There has been an increased level of scrutiny surrounding Heimsness because of his use of force in two separate incidents.

In 2006, Heimsness reportedly kneed and kicked a man he was arresting at a downtown bar, which the Madison Police Department determined was within reason for the situation. But the city of Madison settled a $27,000 deal with the man's attorney after witnesses said that he was intentionally struck in the head by Heimsness in the incident.

In 2001, Heimsness fired his gun, shooting out the front tires of a car in a university-area parking garage. Heimsness said he thought the driver was going to hit him. He was suspended without pay for 15 days for the incident.