Biased Policing Statement
Ocoee Police Department Biased Policing Statement
Every citizen regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age, or culture deserves the highest level of service available and equal treatment under the law. The Ocoee Police Department is committed to this belief, and strives to insure unbiased policing in all of its encounters between officers and citizens.Officers investigating criminal activities use a variety of techniques in developing the proof needed to arrest and prosecute criminals. “Criminal profiling” is a legitimate technique used by officers to evaluate the evidence and identify the characteristics common to a specific kind of criminal activity. While the word “profiling” has been associated with racial or biased policing, true “criminal profiling” is the use of legitimate law enforcement knowledge, training, and experience to narrow a field of suspects during a criminal investigation. Factual information, patterns of activity, and motives are some of the aspects considered when using criminal profiling to develop a suspect.Biased policing occurs when an officer, whether intentionally or unintentionally, makes decisions or takes police action due to personal, societal or organizational biases or stereotypes based upon a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age, or culture. The absence of articulable facts, suspicious activity, or specific criminal information is what separates biased policing from legitimate criminal profiling.The Ocoee Police Department does not condone the use of biased policing by its law enforcement officers as it is a violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens we serve, undermines legitimate law enforcement efforts and may lead to claims of civil rights violations.All laws shall be enforced equally, regardless of a suspect’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age, or culture. Biased policing shall not be tolerated and is a violation of the code of conduct of the Ocoee Police Department. This standard is established in accordance with Florida State Statute 166.0493.Sworn members of the agency receive training to identify and avoid biased policing including the potential liability associated with violations of the law in accordance with the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) requirements. If you have any questions, or would like more information regarding the Ocoee Police Department’s policies prohibiting biased policing, please contact Professional Standards at (407) 554-7202. As part of our ongoing efforts to educate the community and promote awareness of our procedures the policy is available in its entirety for review.