FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday it’s use of force policies aligned with the calls for proposed reforms nationwide.
FCSO outlined parts of its policies, saying it matched up with the “Eight Can’t Wait” initiative. The initiative stems from a campaign demanding nationwide police reform by focusing on eight topics such as banning chokeholds, de-escalation training, duty to intervene, ban shooting at moving vehicles, require warning before firing a gun, require use of force continuum, exhausting all alternatives before shooting and require comprehensive reporting when use of force does occur, according to 8cantwait.org.
The campaign was started shortly after the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death garnered global outrage after a video surfaced of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, the use of force described similar to a chokehold.
FCSO says it has already implemented such policies and practices outlined in the campaign before it became a national conversation, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
It’s Response to Resistance and De-escalation Techniques policy forbids chokeholds and deputies are required to use minimum use of force to achieve compliance using de-escalation techniques. Deputies are also trained to issue a verbal warning before utilizing deadly force, according to the news release.
FCSO also outlined its duty to intervene policy noting civilian employees are also required to report excessive use of force. Deputies are also banned from shooting at moving vehicles unless absolutely necessary to protect against imminent danger, the news released reads.
The sheriff’s office adds it uses use of force continuum as a training guide to determine reasonable force as well as a comprehensive reporting guide to note when force is used.
“These are not new policy changes for us,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a news release. “We have taught these basics for years now.”
According to FCSO statistics provided in the news release, an arrestee has a 0.4% chance of having force used by a deputy during an arrest. The sheriff’s office reports the last time deadly force was used in Flagler County was in December 2012.
“As a four-diamond accredited agency, we have implemented and train our deputies using the best model policies and practices recommended by national and state organizations. I also support the creation of a nationwide database to stop rogue officers going from department to department.”
Staly adds that apart from its strong training and policies, the Guardianship and District policing program implemented in 2017 has assisted in community relations. Staly describes guardianship policing is the community and neighborhoods working with the sheriff’s office to keep the community safe together and helps build transparency and trust.