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DeLand Police Department

Q: What steps has the DeLand Police Department taken regarding race and policing?

A: Obviously, from March through December with COVID-19, community face-to-face meetings all were curtailed, but we did get the two-and-a-half day FIP (Fair and Impartial Policing) Joint Community/Command Staff training accomplished in January 2020 with 18 members of the community at large, along with 12 members of command staff, participating.  

We also did the FIP four-hour Community Training where I attended along with approximately 20 community members. Both of these training sessions were facilitated by Dr. Lorie Fridell. These trainings were funded by the city and The House Next Door contributions.  

Twelve members of our department attended virtual hate crimes training put on by the Anti-Defamation League in December 2020. This training was sponsored by Stetson University Public Safety.

All new officers were trained by the chief during orientation on community policing, history of policing in America, covering topics such as implicit bias, race relations, the U.S. Department of Justice Ferguson Report, procedural justice and 21st Century Policing initiatives derived from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

All members also received annual training on the Four Tenets of Procedural Justice and Fair and Impartial Policing (Implicit Bias Training).

Our agency completed a full review of our use-of-force policy to make sure we are in compliance with the President’s Executive Order Principles on Safe Policing and Use of Force and submitted an Attestation to Presidential Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities to FDLE on 12/21/2020.

In addition, we are in compliance with what is popularly known as 8 Can’t Wait: visit https://8cantwait.org/

— From DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Q: What steps has the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office taken to address race and policing?

A: We exhaustively reviewed use-of-force policy in 2017. Since implementation of the recommendations of that report, use-of-force has steadily declined in Volusia County, from 123 in 2016 to 65 in 2019. 

Sixty-five use-of force incidents represent less than 1 percent of 9,370 arrests and less than .02 percent of more than 260,000 calls for service.

FOR THOSE IN NEED — Flanked by Lt. Justin Sawicki and Capt. George Maddox, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood accepts $500 worth of gift cards presented by the City of DeBary and Knights of Columbus Council 13571, for those in need. 

That reduction didn’t happen by accident. Our policies, our training and the underlying philosophy of our entire organization made that possible.

It’s worth noting that assaults on our deputies are also decreasing, down 40 percent from 2016. We attribute this to our ongoing emphasis on de-escalation.

We even have a medal for it. We added the Medal of Tactical De-Escalation to recognize deputies who use their skills and training to achieve safe resolutions in potentially dangerous situations. That’s a reflection of our values and our priorities.

Crime is on a steady decline, too. The Sheriff’s Office total index crime rate in 2019 was down about 19 percent from 2018, and down more than 40 percent compared to 2016. The 9,370 arrests we made in 2019 were down from 12,454 arrests in 2016. 

Fewer crimes, fewer arrests and fewer victims means a safer community.

We hear about better training, more focus on de-escalation and crisis intervention. Those principles are central to the training we provide at the Sheriff’s Office, and they are ingrained in everything we do. 

I got some criticism when I took down the sign over the front door of our training facility. It used to say “Confidence in the line of fire.” Today, it says “Enter to learn. Leave to serve.”

— Gleaned from Sheriff’s Office communications

 

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