BSO Sheriff talks possible changes

Posted on 19 June 2020 by JLusk

Following the protests over the death of George Floyd and others, many law enforcement agencies are rethinking their policies. Broward Sheriff’s Office is among them.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said, “The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) always strives to provide the highest quality public safety services to Broward County. This is the level of service the community expects and deserves from BSO. Since taking office, I have been committed to accountability and building trust with the community. Click here to watch an important video on BSO’s accountability and transparency.

“The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) is committed to increasing dialogue and transparency in order to have a better understanding of racial discrimination within the criminal justice system. It’s important to openly address these issues and look at how we can improve upon them. Part of that process has already begun with re-integrating a more comprehensive Early Warning System to detect potential behaviors that may cause harm to the public, establishing the first Use-of-Force Review Board in the agency’s history, restructuring the Professional Standards Committee and offering Racial Equity and Implicit Bias Training countywide.
“Every single day we are in contact with some resident in this community and have some form of dialogue. Broward County is one of the most diverse counties in the state of Florida. We need to understand the plights that truly exist that impact how we react with the people who we are supposed to serve.
“As part of BSO’s commitment to transparency, below are the department policies already in alignment with the #8CANTWAIT recommendations.

1.     Ban on chokeholds and strangleholds
BSO does not teach chokeholds. Deputies will not use chokeholds to restrain or secure any person except in situations where deadly force is justified. 
2.     Require de-escalation
De-escalation training is provided to all sworn law enforcement personnel as part of their annual use-of-force training.
3.     Require warning before shooting
Policy requires deputies to give some verbal warning, when feasible, before discharging a weapon. 
4.     Exhaust all other means before shooting
Under the totality of circumstances, deputies are trained to utilize alternative resources, such as de-escalation techniques, crisis intervention techniques and other less lethal options as long as its use does not compromise safety or law enforcement priorities. 
5.     Duty to intervene
BSO deputies are instructed on peer accountability and their legal obligation to intervene. Failure to intervene shall be treated the same as if the employee committed the violation.  
6.     Ban on shooting at moving vehicles
BSO policy prohibits shooting at or from moving vehicles unless life threatening exigent circumstances exist. We do not teach these techniques. 
7.     Require use of force continuum
BSO deputies are taught use-of-force guidelines and how to respond to the following types of resistance: passive resistance, active resistance, aggressive and deadly force. Deadly force is the last option.  
8.     Require all force be reported
Uniformed deputies have body-worn cameras and are required to activate them prior to taking any lawful action per policy. All use-of-force incidents are documented by both the patrol deputy and their immediate supervisors. All use-of-force reports are reviewed by the deputy’s command and forwarded to the Department of Professional Standards for review if issues are identified.
“As public safety professionals, we have a responsibility and duty to serve and protect – and part of service is listening. We want to hear from you. Share your experiences with us—good or bad. There are many ways to share your feedback:

“Click here to watch an important video on BSO’s accountability and transparency.

“We know we are stronger together, and I am confident that over the next few months and years, this organization will have a solid reputation with the community and they will trust us.”


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