Volusia sheriff plays Tyre Nichols video at career fair to deliver message: brutality won’t be tolerated

De-escalation training working in Volusia County, Sheriff Chitwood says

DELAND, Fla. – Volusia County’s sheriff is making it graphically clear for new recruits: he will not tolerate the kind of policing seen in the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood is playing the video evidence of the Memphis officers charged with beating Nichols to death for applicants.

“If you think this is what police work is all about, you need to leave right now,” he said.

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A graphic video made by his office shows the alleged beating of Tyre Nichols and video from the cases of George Floyd and Rodney King. It played continuously in the background at the agency’s career fair over the weekend.

“When they were submitting their applications, waiting to be interviewed, take the pat test, that loop was playing,” said Chitwood.

The office also posted it to social media in the days before the career fair.

Chitwood said he was pleased by the high number of applicants that came through the door and said some came from across the country.

“Of the 55 applicants, we were able to make conditional offers to 26,” he said.

The office said 13 more people who couldn’t make the fair also applied and they’re being reviewed now.

Once hired, they will go into the office’s deputy training academy Chitwood opened in 2021.

“I don’t have an X-ray machine to look into your soul and find out what’s there, but I think what we’re doing is what a lot of other departments are doing and not getting credit, is building a culture of what’s tolerated and what’s not tolerated,” he said.

Part of the academy is a de-escalation training program and system.

Chitwood said numbers show it’s making strides in their work. The agency didn’t have any officer-involved shootings in 2022, and Chitwood said use-of-force numbers from his deputies are down by over 50%.

“Injuries to deputies and suspects are down almost 60% and our ability to solve a crime once it occurs, whether it’s burglary, robbery, stolen car, homicide, all part one crimes — we’re at like 52%, which is unheard of,” he said.

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About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.