ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff's Office Citizens Advisory Committee met virtually on Thursday evening to address concerns with use of force and training.
At the beginning of the meeting with the nine-member board, Sheriff John Mina told the committee that he was open to recommendations in order to improve the agency.
Committee member Jean Sandor said during the meeting that she understands the committee’s responsibility.
“It is really important to us and the community to know that we are there for them,” Sandor said.
During the meeting, members asked questions to members of the Sheriff’s Office who oversea discipline and training. The agency told the committee that it conducts use of force training on a yearly basis, despite the Florida only requiring it be conducted once every four years.
Board members also said that they feel their concerns for the past couple years have been addressed by the sheriff.
"Every recommendation that we have sent forward has been adopted and put into policy. I can not think of one that was not," said committee member Mark Bassett.
Questions also arose regarding OCSO's policy on choke holds. The sheriff's office told the group that choke holds are prohibited, unless lethal force is necessary.
The group also addressed protesters’ calls to “defund the police.”
Committee member Patricia Rumph said that she feels taking away from the agency’s budget will reduce the amount of education deputies receive.
“You can’t say train the officers and defund police because the first thing that is going to go when you cut back on the budget is training,” Rumph said.
A representative for the deputies’ union also said the union is still considering it’s next step after filing an official grievance regarding a new requirement for deputies to intervene being added to the department’s policy.
The new protocol requires deputies to step in when seeing “disproportionate use of force” by a fellow deputy.
The union has said it doesn’t agree with the wording of the policy and it wasn’t given proper notice before it was instated.