Florida Police Chiefs Report Eyes Use of Force

Florida Police Chiefs Report Eyes Use of Force

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — As protests and political battles rage across the country about police officers using force, the Florida Police Chiefs Association has issued a report calling for a series of steps, ranging from largely banning chokeholds and other neck-related restraints to stepping up recruitment of police officers who would better reflect communities.

The association’s Board of Directors approved the report Thursday, during a week in which President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden both went to Kenosha, Wis., in the aftermath of a police officer shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back. The Blake shooting added fuel to protests and counter-protests that surged after a May incident in which George Floyd, a Black man, died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.

The new report from the Florida association was put together by a subcommittee that was formed after Floyd’s death and includes representatives of law enforcement and community and religious organizations. The recommendations are not binding on Florida police departments and are based, in part, on a national report about use of force.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association promised to lead the way to strengthen trust and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” association President Jeff Pearson, the police chief in Satellite Beach, said in a statement released with the report. “This report puts those promises into action.”

Along with addressing a series of specific policy issues, the report also offered “guiding principles” for police agencies on use of force, including a principle of “preservation of life.”

“The preservation of life should guide all law enforcement actions,” the report said. “Where necessary to use force against a member of the community, the force should be objectively reasonable, proportional, and necessary in defense of an officer, another, or in pursuit of a lawful objective.”

Also, the guiding principles included better communication by police officers and administrators, improved training for officers and bolstering police-recruitment efforts.

“Applications to serve as a law enforcement are at historically low levels, especially amongst people of color,” the report said. “Agencies should actively recruit police officers who reflect the demographics of the community. The use of community outreach and increased communications with the community may result in attracting police recruits with a desire to serve their community.”

The recommendations followed the national report, known as the National Consensus Policy, in calling for a prohibition on the use of chokeholds “unless the use of deadly force is authorized.” The recommendations also called for such a prohibition on “vascular neck restraint,” which includes techniques that can incapacitate people by restricting blood flow to their brains.

In a news release accompanying the release of the recommendations, the association said authorized use of deadly force is a “high bar only crossed when an officer must protect themselves or others from what is reasonably believed to be a threat of death or serious bodily harm.”

Several recommendations in the association’s report dealt with police officers shooting weapons, including calling for officers when “feasible” to identify themselves and warn of intent to use deadly force before shooting.  Also, the report recommended prohibitions on warning shots, which it said pose a danger and have “the potential to inflame already tense and dangerous situations.”

In addition, the report said imposing a total ban on shooting at vehicles “is impractical and could result in unnecessary risk to officers and citizens. The subcommittee recognized that in some narrow circumstances, that shooting at a moving vehicle may be required for the preservation of human life and to protect against the imminent threat of death or great bodily harm.”

The association’s report also addressed an issue that has gained attention at some of the high-profile incidents nationally, where multiple police officers were present. The report backed requiring police officers to intervene “to prevent or stop the use of excessive force by another officer when it is safe and responsible to do so.”

8 Responses to "Florida Police Chiefs Report Eyes Use of Force"

  1. The above poster is an angry lil fella. Hear this…

    Fact: Every one of the recent black males killed my law enforcement officers, had committed crimes on the date of their death, prior to contact with Leo, and citizens called law enforcement to the scene for help. Each person ignored commands, each person chose to resist arrest, and not follow lawful commands. These folks were not angels, they made poor choices, and are now being made into heroes after their death, by the protesting community. Criminals should not be your heroes.

    Fact: Some of the actions by the officers, after the resistance by the suspects and felonies committed by the suspects on them, appear to have been improper. These folks will get prosecuted for any crimes they committed. The will lose their jobs and go to prison. You may have noticed when these cops were arrested, they did not violently resist. They knew that was the wrong course of action.

    The following of rules and punishment when rules are violated is how society is supposed to work. Blaming republicans or democrats or cops or white people or anyone or anything for what takes place in your life is worthless, and generally an unintelligent cop-out. Hold each individual person (not their stereotypical group) responsible for what he/she does, and just do the right thing.

  2. Tallahassee once was a quite peaceful town circa 1972….a lot has happened least of which was a liberal takeover of local government. Don’t forget our local liberal leaders believed just a couple years ago that simply keeping the pool open would solve all problems. You get what you vote for. Thank God Gillium isn’t governor.

  3. Lessons My Parents Taught Me:

    1. Don’t Commit Crime
    2. Obey LEOs Commands
    3. Don’t Resist Arrest
    4. Don’t Try To Kill LEOs
    5. Live Longer

    … problem solved

  4. Due to the huge waste in government military spending, there is a huge amount of military surplus. Some of this wasteful spending includes items that law enforcement has gotten it’s hands on which has helped police to seem to become more military-like. Add to this fact, the “US vs everybody else” attitude that seems prevalent in some law enforcement agencies, your result is a system of law enforcement which appears to some to be para-military and unaccountable.

    But, perhaps, to a degree, it has to be?

    When you have citizens that have access to military-grade automatic multi-round assault rifles with armour-piercing ammunition with “Don’t Tread On Me” attitudes and young folks who think the only protection and opportunities they have is by joining a weapon-carrying gang, you’ve got issues that must be addressed and which law enforcement must be prepared to adequately deal with.

    So, yes, I get it; law enforcement wants to make sure that law enforcement can have equal standing with the many dregs of society they are asked to approach to protect the masses and sometimes, when they think they can’t make any folks happy with the tactics they use, they can seem to develop an “US vs everybody else” attitude.

    Yes, you can have bad apples in law enforcement, just like everywhere else, and these bad apples must be held accountable via a very transparent law enforcement establishment. But, one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch (Sing along if you know the song)…

    THANK YOU LAW ENFORCEMENT! It is a shame you are asked to do what you have to do to keep a sometime chaotic citizenry under some sort of control but this is what has become of the US of A.

  5. just more crap from the unions we need to ban the police union not the police and already they are saying oh we wont shoot at cars but if we do its ok but really we arent suppossed too sorry charlies as usual no criminal accoutnability for police who break the law and kill without justifieable cause. we the people will not rest until you cops the bad ones and the good ones who stand around and watch as the bad ones kill or beat and just break the law are finally brought to justice.

    In the real world people who screw up on their jobs are fired and people who break laws are prosecuted and cops should lose immunity and start being charged for crimes and put n jail. if not they will just keep on doing what they do which is atrocious,. YOU GUYS WANT RESPECT
    YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO EARN IT ALL OVER AGAIN. You ruined it not us. keep pushing though and watch what happens when the entire country is mad and angry at you not just a small percentage.

    NO MORE LIES and smoke screens from the union. Oh yeah and Grand juries what a joke. we all know how those operate and who they are related to the POLICE duh!!

    I mean you can get charges on a ham sandwhich but not a police officer who shotos someone in the back or choeks them out over 8 minutes oh yeah and review the video of the gun guy at the protest here in tallahassee. Does it look like that police man needs more training. he actually let the gunman get on a knee and hand the gun to him! and then the cop tossed it 2 feet away from the gunman. i mean come on that cop should be written up fo rendangering himself and all the protestors and even the gunman. no yellnig get on the ground drop the gun none of that.. oh ok well we are gonna lock down the city for 5 nights so we need a godo excuse to not rile up the population of law abiding citizens oh yeah we can have a gunman at a protest. wake up tallahassee!! it is time to take your city back into the peoples hands so we can go get a donut at midnight if we want or hang out after 11 pm if we want. it is your right as a citizen if the USA NOT CHINA.


    Everything a Black was shot by a cop, the Black was RESISTING. That should be you FIRST Clue. Just do what the Officer tells you to do WITH OUT RESISTING.

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