LAKELAND, FL - June 25, 2020 - According to an online news report published on theledger.com, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd outlined its "Duty to Intervene" policy. The newly added policy defines how Polk County Sheriff's deputies are required to respond should they observe another deputy using excessive force on a suspect. The newly added provision was added to the "Protective Action" policy that provides guidance on the use of lethal and non-lethal force on suspects. The "Duty to Intervene" addendum to the "Protective Action" policy states, "Deputies have a duty to intervene to prevent or stop the excessive or unjustified protective action by another deputy."
According to Polk County Sheriff Grady, this policy is not a new policy and has been the policy of the Polk County Sheriff Office, but the policy is now in print. Therefore, the policy should be more clear to all Polk County Sheriff's deputies. Polk County Sheriff Grady stated that this "Duty to Intervene" has always been explicitly taught and regularly explained to all of the departments Sherriff's deputies. The policy clearly states that a Sheriff's deputy needs to intervene if a fellow deputy grows "overly engaged" or is caught up in an adrenaline rush while handling a suspect. Sheriff Judd added that the fellow deputy should intercede by saying, "Let me take over" or "Go take some deep breathes." Sheriff Judd stated that the reason for the update is the policy was never written down, and we arranged it in writing to avoid any misunderstandings, and the Sheriff's deputies understand the policy.
The Lakeland Police Department's printed "Code of Conduct" for its police officers includes a clause named "Members Duty to Report Misconduct." This clause has been part of the department's "Code of Conduct" since at least 2015. The Lakeland Police Department's policy states, each member of the Lakeland Police Department must "promptly report any personal knowledge of another member's non-compliance with any federal, state or local law, City of Lakeland ordinance, Code of Ethics, Department directive, general or special order, policy or procedure, to their supervisor." Also, all Lakeland officers' defensive tactic instruction includes direction on how to de-escalate force.
Both the Lakeland Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff's Office and emphasized that they have multiple national and state and accreditations through bureaus that present best practices, oversight, and training.
Polk County Sheriff Judd stated that there are over 400 law enforcement agencies in the State of Minnesota, and not one law enforcement agency has national accreditation from CALEA, or Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. CALEA sets the standards for policing. The Polk County Sheriff said CALEA has recognized Polk County over the past 26 years. Polk County Sheriff Judd stated, about Minnesota law enforcement agencies, "No wonder people are complaining...They are decades behind."