On Tuesday, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Research Institute released their latest report “Police Response to Resistance: How Florida’s Sheriffs React to Violent Encounters.”
“Many Americans falsely believe that officers fire their weapons at least once in their career (or even several times a year) due to the way law enforcement is portrayed in news reports, social media, and television. This report is designed to inform readers about law enforcement’s response to resistance in general, as well as the laws and agency policies that guide and restrict how officers may use control when met with resistance or violence. The report also highlights training officers are required to receive in legal and approved control methods,” the FSA noted.
The FSA Research Institute found that most officers never fire their gun (except during training) throughout their career. Additionally, the report found officers chose not to shoot in 93 percent of violent situations where an officer could have fired their gun legally and ethically by law and department policy. According to the most recent national report, out of the 61.5 million people who had contact with an officer in 2018, only 2.8 percent perceived the officer used force.
“This research further debunks the idea that officers should be viewed negatively,” said Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, the president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “Although we understand there is always room for improvement, our deputies have the responsibility to protect individuals from injury. With the proper training and policies, they understand their duties as an officer and the ultimate results from judgments they must make in different situations.”
“Through the use of federal and state laws, officers are trained to understand how to respond to situations when individuals resist arrest and use violence. Both the Supreme Court of the United States and Florida law provide police with guidelines that protect citizens from unreasonable force. For an officer to understand these guidelines, there are ample training sessions during the academy pre-employment period and these trainings continue as a part of ongoing education requirements,” the FSA noted.
“Having credible and actionable research allows law enforcement and leaders to continue improving public safety and to continue increasing the currency of trust,” said Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, the committee chair of the Florida Sheriffs Research Institute. “I expect my deputies and personnel to treat all individuals with dignity and respect. The deputy’s role is to understand the laws and agency’s response to resistance, complete proper trainings, understand reasons an individual may react violently, and use the best techniques that are nationally recognized to handle different situations.”
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri , the FSA Legislative Committee chair, also weighed in on the report.
“Florida’s sheriffs continue to lead in proactively raising the bar for the standard of our industry. In fact, the sheriffs have taken an active role in obtaining accredited status and participating in national committees as an additional process of responding to resistance issues. Thirty-eight Florida sheriffs’ offices have been awarded and maintained accredited status for years, and it is a priority for us to have all 67 offices accredited,” Gualiteri said.
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