Statement Regarding Use of Force
In light of recent national events, the Maitland Police Department is providing information to the community regarding procedures for use of force.
Our agency proactively follows strict professional standards to limit use of force and to promote safe and reasonable alternatives whenever possible. This begins with extensive training for officers.
Most officers are certified in crisis intervention techniques to properly respond to stressful situations involving mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and other encounters that may escalate. New officers are required to undergo training, and our agency regularly presents additional education and materials to stay informed.
The department is fully accredited through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation to follow 240 standards critical to life, health and safety issues. These standards include specific restrictions for use of force and adherence to Florida law.
In reference to recent national events:
- The Maitland Police Department does not, nor has it ever, trained officers in chokeholds, strangleholds or any other similar actions. Our agency specifically prohibits use of these techniques unless deadly force is justified.
- Our policies detail that "deadly force should only be used if no other reasonable means exists" and "the use of deadly force will not be authorized in instances where the consequences of such use outweigh the police purpose. The necessary safeguarding of an innocent human life shall be the paramount consideration in the decision to use deadly force." This principle is emphasized during officer training.
- Our policies state that unnecessary force - including force utilized for punishment or vengeance - is clearly unlawful, improper and liable to civil and criminal action as well as disciplinary measures and termination.
- Our policies require that any officer witnessing another law enforcement officer using unnecessary or illegal force will intervene to stop it and report to a supervisor as soon as possible.
- Our policies strictly prohibit firing at vehicles used in aggravated assaults, once the immediate danger has passed; and firing at vehicles while seeking to apprehend misdemeanants or non-forcible felons is strictly prohibited.
- Our officers are trained to give a warning and a chance to comply prior to using a firearm or other non-deadly weapon.
- The department implements a resistance and response continuum that is consistent with national standards to minimize force and to comprehensively report, evaluate and utilize cases in identifying potential legal, policy, training or personnel issues.
The Maitland Police Department is committed to the highest professional and ethical criteria and to maintain a positive relationship with the community we serve. That - along with exceptional staff training - has resulted in very few incidents compared to similar jurisdictions of our size.
We always appreciate the opportunity to help citizens better understand how we perform our duties. The department will remain diligent in ethical and professional standards that foster mutual trust with the community.