ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Police Chiefs Association is discussing how local law enforcement can better serve their communities. Their goal is to build trust, ensure transparency and accountability and strengthen relationships.
On Tuesday, members from the Subcommittee on Accountability and Societal Change unveiled their plans to better bridge the gap. The subcommittee was comprised of several local police chiefs, community stakeholders, Central Florida Urban League Chair Paula Hoisington and nationally recognized law enforcement trainer Dr. Randy Nelson of Bethune Cookman University’s Center for Law and Social Justice.
Some of those recommendations included things like actively reviewing the department’s use of force policies, recruiting more officers that reflect their communities and simply treating people how you’d wanted to be treated.
“Accountability has to go both ways. I’m 100% holding law enforcement accountable,” said nationally recognized law enforcement trainer Dr. Randy Nelson from Bethune Cookman’s Center for Law and Social Justice.
The 31-page report released detailed ways law enforcement and the community can improve.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said building trust and humanizing law enforcement are vital.
“Doing just the basic courteous common-sense things to show that regardless of the uniform we’re human beings,” Young said.
“Every community must work together with their citizens to make sure their voices are heard,” St. Cloud Police Chief Pete Gauntlett said.
Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith said his department is working to better recruit and retain more diverse officers who reflect the community would also help in bridging the gap.
“Even during covid knocking on doors, talking to people, helping people out, continuing to have those conversations,” Smith said.
Another key recommendation from the report was letting drivers know why they’re being stopped or searched.
“So you can put them at ease at least try to put them at ease,” said Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon.
Parramore resident Shunn Atwell said he’s seen Orlando Police do much better with connecting more with his community, but he agrees they can still improve.
“The police are like people. Some are good, some are bad, some do wrong,” said Atwell. “I see them riding around and it looks like they’re doing their job.”