Orlando Police Chief says “No more chokeholds, you guys”

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 “I am committed and the City of Orlando is committed to working to ensure that every person who lives here feels equally protected, equally valued and has equal access to opportunity. But I also know that this can only be achieved if we remove barriers and center the experiences of people who have been historically marginalized. Thank you for your partnership in those efforts, your leadership and the role that you play in making our community a better place for all who call Orlando home.” – Orlando Mayor John Dyer

The Orlando Police Department (OPD) and the City of Orlando have issued a statement that they have reviewed existing police Use of Force policies as a response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the country that were sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

Chief Orlando Rolón provided an update on the OPD’s policies at the recent council meeting and included a list of policy “enhancements and changes” that the force and the City were making.

At the forefront of these policies is the requirement that officers employ de-escalation tactics to minimize the need to use force during an incident. OPD policies already in place include:  

  • If it becomes necessary for an officer to apply force, OPD’s policies follow a use of force continuum, meaning that officers should only use the level of force necessary to regain control of a situation.  
  • If it is necessary for an officer to apply force, and another officer is present, that officer has a “duty to intervene” and either stop or attempt to stop an officer when force is inappropriately used or no longer required.  
  • An officer should consider all non-lethal options before shooting.   
  • An officer should never shoot at moving vehicles.  
  • A supervisor is required to investigate anytime an officer uses force.  

The mayor has also directed Chief Rolón to make additional changes to city policies, including:  

  • Banning the use of chokeholds and neck restraints.
  • Requiring officers to issue a verbal warning – when safe and practical – before shooting.  
  • Prohibiting “no-knock” warrants. 

The mayor also issued a statement that the City is looking to partner with mental health agencies to respond to specific calls for service for those experiencing mental health issues, in place of sending police officers.

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