Bias Policing is the inappropriate consideration of specified characteristics while enforcing the law or providing police services. Specified characteristics includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnic background, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, political status, or any other legally protected characteristics.
This link was established to educate our community with regard to the Gulf Breeze Police Department’s prohibition against Bias-Policing and to provide some insight into the complaint investigative process.
The Gulf Breeze Police Department is commited to unbiased policing, to clarify the circumstances in which officers can consider race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or social/economic status when making law enforcement decisions. To reinforce procedures that assure the public that we are providing service and enforcing laws in a safe, legal and professional manner. To encourage open communication with the community about police discretion and constitutional policing.
Investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, searches, and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Officers must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, non-consensual searches, and property seizures.
Officers shall not consider any bias in establishing either reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Similarly, except as provided in this policy, officers shall not consider race/ethnicity/human diversity in deciding to initiate even those non-consensual encounters that do not amount to legal detentions or to request consent to search.
Officers may take into account the reported race/ethnicity/human diversity of a specific suspect or suspects based on trustworthy, locally relevant information that links a person or persons of a specific race/ethnicity to a particular unlawful incident(s). The standard for “trustworthy” information is the same one that officers should apply to any information they use to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause. It means that the information is worthy of confidence. “Locally relevant” means information is worthy of local conditions. Race/ethnicity can never be used as the sole basis for probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
Except as provided in this statement, race/ethnicity/human diversity shall not be motivating factors in making law enforcement decisions.
Preventing Perceptions of Biased-Based Policing
In an effort to prevent inappropriate perceptions of biased law enforcement, each officer should do the following when conducting pedestrian and vehicle stops:
- Be courteous and professional.
- Introduce him or herself to the citizen (providing name and agency affiliations), and state the reason for the stop as soon as practical, unless providing this information will compromise officer or public safety.
- Ensure that the detention is no longer than necessary to take appropriate action for the known or suspected offense, and that the citizen understands the purpose of reasonable delays.
- Answer any questions the citizen may have, including explaining options for traffic citation disposition, if relevant.
- Provide his or her name and unit number in writing, if possible when requested.
- In situations where the officer determines reasonable suspicion has been dispelled or probable cause does not exist for the continued detention, explain the situation to the citizen, when possible.
- Supervisors are required to periodically review a sampling of in-car video recordings or body cam video of stops, reports filed on stops by officers, and respond at random to back up officers on vehicle stops, and take appropriate action whenever it appears that department policy is being violated, being particularly alert to any pattern or practice of possible discriminatory treatment by officers.
- The Police Department will annually review any internal data it believes is relevant to ensure compliance with the law and to determine any deficiencies in policies or practices, or training necessities.
- Officers will receive training in biased policing, training will include the proper use of discretion and matters of constitutional policing. Officers will also receive training in human diversity issues as well as professional traffic stops.
Any person may file a complaint of biased policing with the department either by telephone, in writing, or in person if they feel they have been stopped or searched based on illegal profiling, or subjected to improper treatment. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint. The complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate division commander through the chain of command. The complaint will be thoroughly investigated and if sustained, shall result in a recommendation for corrective action including, but not limited to counseling, training, punitive actions, and/or policy review and revision.
Once the investigation is completed, the complainant is notified by letter from the Chief of Police as to the disposition of the complaint.