South Florida

Police Reform in South Florida 1 Year Since George Floyd's Death

Since Floyd's death, South Florida law enforcement says they have pledged to better police communities and developed a plan.

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Police chiefs in Miami-Dade honored Officer L. Hicks on Tuesday for rushing to a burning car to save lives. The honor was on a day when almost a year ago, South Florida police chiefs were captured in a photo kneeling with protesters to honor George Floyd.

Since Floyd's death, South Florida law enforcement says they have pledged to better police communities and developed a plan.

"The fact that I was able to go around and get every single chief of police to physically sign that resolution, that had never been done before in our association," said David de la Espriella, the president of the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police.

A plan that today has seen changes such as banning chokeholds in Miami-Dade County.

The plan also called for de-escalation at scenes — giving a clear warning before shooting — and mandating officers to step in when they see another officer breaking the rules.

"I feel Miami-Dade County was light years ahead in terms of those types of reforms and accountability measures," de la Espriella said.

Interview snippet of David de la Espriella, the president of the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police

Major de la Espriella says many departments were already following the recommendations.

"South Florida policing is progressive in that sense that a lot of these issues that perhaps in other parts of the country are still being called upon, we already had," de la Espriella said.

Click here to read the use of force report by the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

In Fort Lauderdale, officers who use force in any situation now have their body cameras reviewed automatically — before, it was only if a citizen filed a complaint. 

In Broward County, Sheriff Gregory Tony says since Floyd's death, the agency has made an "enormous amount of adjustments."

Interview snippet with Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony

There is now a separate panel that internally reviews deputies' actions. 

"Another core thing we did was to establish a use of force review board. The agency has never had one in 106 years," Tony said.

"From an accountability standpoint, we put in more checks and balances to ensure that we didn’t have law enforcement out there that were abusing their authorities— hurting, harming, or even killing someone out there. We have an early warning system now," Tony said. "We’re able to see and analyze deputies who may have two, three, four different types of incidents."

Tony said BSO has increased its bias and sensitivity training and created a panel of civilians that will take a look at internal affairs investigations once they’re completed.

"We’ve taken very aggressive stance about holding people accountable," Tony said.

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