Law enforcement leaders push to “rebuild trust and accountability” in communities through new guidelines

Monroe County Sheriff deputy Jamie Miller mans a checkpoint on U.S. 1 leading into the Florida Keys on March 27, 2020. Monroe County has prohibited tourists and only allow property owners and people who show they legitimately work in the Keys to pass through the roadblocks in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Discussions on better police standards and practices are underway, with police chiefs across the state leading efforts to build more trust between police officers and the people they serve.

In the wake of the George Floyd killing, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, a large statewide police organization, announced in early June the development of a subcommittee on “Accountability and Societal Change” to address police reforms in the state.

FPCA president and Temple Terrace Police Department Chief Kenneth Albano said in a press release:

“In particular, and to be clear, the FPCA denounces racism, discriminatory practices of any kind, and the unwarranted use of any level of force, but especially deadly force.”

The issue has come to the forefront following protests around the country, with the ACLU Florida last week writing a stern letter to sheriffs and prosecutors, saying that law enforcement is “using excessive and unnecessary force against protesters through numerous tactics, including tear gassing, shoving, punching, shooting rubber bullets, arresting protesters and threatening arrest, and forcibly preventing videotaping.”

The civil rights organization demanded justice and called upon all Florida sheriffs and state attorneys to speak out against those actions “and send a clear signal to all Floridians that these types of police officer abuses of power will not be tolerated.”

Albano said in a separate statement that the subcommittee will develop recommendations “to both rebuild trust and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and to begin to address some of the most deep-seeded societal issues that plague our communities and contribute to many of the negative encounters with law enforcement in the first place.”

The group released the names of its members on Wednesday, mainly police officials from various departments in Florida and one college professor from the University of South Florida. Their first task is to develop guidelines used by what’s called the “8 Can’t Wait” plan.

The plan includes bringing immediate change to police departments using eight policies, such as banning chokeholds and requiring warning before shooting, according to the 8 Can’t Wait campaign website.

According to a press release, Chief Anthony Holloway of the St. Petersburg Police Department, directed each member to select a community leader to join the group to “ensure that the subcommittee has the full and unvarnished input of a variety of responsible voices.” Holloway is also the chair of the subcommittee.

Here are the members:

  • Chair: Chief Anthony Holloway. St. Petersburg Police Department
  • Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Pritt, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Chief Michael Gregory, Boynton Beach Police Department
  • Chief Daniel Slaughter, Clearwater Police Department
  • Chief Orlando Rolón, Orlando Police Department
  • Chief Brian Dugan, Tampa Police Department
  • Chief Charles Broadway, Clermont Police Department
  • Chief Cecil Smith, Sanford Police Department
  • Chief Terri Brown, Florida State University Police Department
  • Chief Dexter Williams, Miramar Police Department and president, Broward County Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Major David De La Espriella, Miami Beach Police Department and president, Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Dr. Lorie Fridell, professor and subject matter expert on use of force,        Department of Criminology, University of South Florida