The Chief of Police Lawrence Revell appeared on The Morning Show with Preston Scott on Monday June 7th, 2021 and discussed concerns about the use of force related to a recent incident and staff issues with the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD).
On the use of force incident, Revell stated that the events that transpired between the officers and the offender on May 20th were well within TPD policy.
Revell noted that officers arrived on scene with the driver asleep at the wheel at an intersection on Tennessee Street, and a DUI expert was called to complete a field sobriety test. The driver was deemed intoxicated, and the officers began their arrest. At this point the offender began to resist and became non-compliant.
Chief Revell stated that when the officer struck the man in his thigh that it was not excessive, and the moment the offender began to comply with the officer’s requests, the officer halted the use of his baton. The officer showed restraint and “that use of force is exactly within policy.”
Revell also addressed comments by elected officials related to the incident.
Revell noted there has been discussions concerning changing the current policy. He advised against making changes, he stated “I caution people, be careful, if you keep taking tools away from officers at the lower end of the spectrum, you are going to force them to a higher level of the spectrum.”
Revell said that TPD’s policies are “nationally leading policies.” According to Chief Revell, when determining departments procedures, they consider input form the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA), and the Florida Sheriff’s Association. These organizations lead in research, education, and training for the various police and security agencies in the State of Florida. Furthermore, TPD policies are compared to at least 18 to 20 other accredited agencies that are of equal or greater in size to TPD.
In an effort for transparency, the TPD’s policies are available online for viewing.
With regards to staffing, Chief Revell said TPD currently has 380 officers and he is hoping to hire fifty more. Revell commented that the Tallahassee City Commission has been supportive and has aided in funding the local recruiting efforts. He also said that of the 50 positions that are filled, 40 of them will be for patrol activities.
Revell also said that “everybody is tired” from the level of work required due to the lack of manpower.