Report: Florida Sheriffs Association examines officers’ response to resistance

by | Nov 2, 2021

The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Research Institute released a report on Tuesday examining law enforcement’s response to resistance and how laws and agency policies guide and restrict how officers may use control when met with violence.

The report entitled, Police Response to Resistance: How Florida’s Sheriffs React to Violent Encounters, highlights how many Americans falsely believe that officers fire their weapons at least once in their career (or even several times a year) due to the way law enforcement is portrayed in news reports, social media, and television. In the analysis, the institute found that most officers never fire their gun (except during training) throughout their career. Additionally, the report found officers chose not to shoot in 93 percent of violent situations where an officer could have fired their gun legally and ethically by law and department policy.

According to the most recent national report, out of the 61.5 million people who had contact with an officer in 2018, only 2.8 percent perceived the officer used force.

“This research further debunks the idea that officers should be viewed negatively,” said Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “Although we understand there is always room for improvement, our deputies have the responsibility to protect individuals from injury. With the proper training and policies, they understand their duties as an officer and the ultimate results from judgments they must make in different situations.”

Under federal and state laws, officers are trained to understand how to respond to situations when individuals resist arrest and use violence. Additionally, both the Supreme Court of the United States and Florida law provide police with guidelines that protect citizens from unreasonable force. According to FSA, officers undergo ample training sessions during the academy pre-employment period, as well as future training sessions as part of ongoing education requirements.

“Having credible and actionable research allows law enforcement and leaders to continue improving public safety and to continue increasing the currency of trust,” stated Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Committee Chair of the Florida Sheriffs Research Institute. “I expect my deputies and personnel to treat all individuals with dignity and respect. The deputy’s role is to understand the laws and agency’s response to resistance, complete proper trainings, understand reasons an individual may react violently, and use the best techniques that are nationally recognized to handle different situations.”

To read the full report, click here.


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