ORLANDO, Fla. — Several law enforcement leaders in Central Florida are trying to make big changes to neighborhood policing, especially the first interaction officers have with people.
What You Need To Know
- Law enforcement leaders working to implement policing changes, especially 1st contacts
- One Central Floridian says people should be told why they were stopped
- Orlando's police chief says he hopes officers will explains stops now in most cases
- Police must do more than "try" to make change, a person who was pulled over said
- RELATED: New report calls for increased community outreach and diversity within police departments
In 2018, Roderick Houser was pulled over and asked to roll down his window. He asked what for, and the next thing he knew he was handcuffed as well as had his car searched.
“I wondered what I was being stopped for, what I had done,” Houser explained. “I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong with no moving violations or anything. I just wanted to know what I had done for them to be pulling me.”
As it turned out, Houser did not stop at a stop bar at an Orlando intersection. He said he wishes the conversation with that Orlando Police Department officer who pulled him over could have started differently.
“If he had come up to me and searched you was because of this, then OK, we be easy,” Houser said. “But don’t come at me for no reason and then not give me a reason.”
A similar type of scenario was raised with Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon, about why officers would not explain the reason for pulling over or questioning someone from the start of an interaction.
Rolon said he hopes that step is now considered by officers, depending on the situation, but he is calling for even more.
“Our expectation is that our officers, anyone who has the honor to have this job, to always treat people with dignity and respect,” Rolon said. “Regardless of who is watching.”
Rolon also told Spectrum News 13 that Orlando police officers have had 300,000 contacts with people over the past year, and fewer than 300 led to use of force by his officers.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said making good first impressions in a community should occur even before a potential first interaction or incident.
“Everybody you see on the side of the road, in the store, at the bus stop, wherever they may be, that is an opportunity,” Young said. “That is an opportunity to change someone's view on law enforcement.”
Houser said those ideas are great, but he wants to see them put into practice.
“Trying. Trying ain’t doing nothing,” Houser said excitedly. “You either going to do it or you not! I ain’t never seen anyone succeed in trying to do something.”