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Petition offers law enforcement with potential ways to de-escalate certain situations

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By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 31, pk彩票

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The pastor at Faith Life Church, Darius Washington, has created a petition with three key points that sum up the things in policing he believes need the most attention.

1. Create and enforce a NEW zero-tolerance De-escalation Policy and training

Washington believes that the current strategies used by both LCSO and TPD are their 'best practices'. He hopes that with set, clear guidelines, those practices will be 'bumped up' from what they are right now. He is asking for a standing written policy that will hopefully stop officers from using their own discretion. He believes if there are boxes that need to be checked, it will create accountability.

"If it is a standing written policy for de-escalation and it is clearly not followed," shares Washington, "it will eliminate this subjectivity of 'Oh should this officer be charged, should this officer not be charged?' It is kind of like a one two three, ABC thing. And there are automatic investigations and indictments that come along with failure to adhere to the de-escalation policy. Not best practice, but policy."

He continued by saying it is a question of whether or not an officer will be held responsible. He says there needs to be a public record that steps are followed when they arrive on scene. He states there needs to be a verifiable way to prove that the officer is providing de-escalation policies. He hopes this will in turn, mirror less of the violence that we have been seeing.

2. Create and enforce a NEW mandatory Interracial Secondary Officer Response Policy and training

"We are not naive to the undertone that our country currently exists in."

Washington feels when an officer is called to the scene of a densely minority based community or area, that person has to call for a secondary officer or a 'back-up' response team. He expresses that as a church ministry, they believe that response team should be interracial or diverse in representation.

"We feel like it is going to balance the scales of justice a little bit," shares Washington. "Balance the decisions that are made on scene."

He believes just having someone from a similar cultural background, may put the officer at ease. Having an additional person there might be helpful during scene assessment.

3. Officials add to written standing policy the language that officer BODY cams must be engaged manually PRIOR to scene arrival

Washington states that he has consulted with many officers.

They echo that their body cameras are always turned on and left on stand-by, and will 'turn-on' if they remove their firearm and the program then back records recent minutes of footage. But other than that, the body cameras, have to be manually engaged or turned on.

"We feel that sometimes the body cameras miss some portions of the story that might change the course of the narrative," expresses Washington, "It is going to tell the entire story."

"The entire country will be able to perceive from all of the facts and not a portion," states Pastor Darius.

The petition asks for 10,000 signatures. Washington has hopes to host a town hall/city meeting with all local law enforcement leaders and community members, "It takes the unity of the community to really make enough noise for them to consider that this is something that needs to be addressed."

He says as both a pastor and citizen, he feels mixed emotions regarding local protests. As a pastor he preaches grace, love and forgiveness, but says he is understanding to wanting to act otherwise, "But I am also in my fleshly human body and I cannot run away from emotions and reactions and you can't help but feel the anger and empathize with the injustice and empathize with the families losing loved ones due to these negligent acts of law enforcement officers."

He furthers that while he cannot tell someone how to act or react, he can leave them with this, "After you are done venting, let us move towards progress, real change with the decision makers that can make the change."

"We need to rally it up to make sure that we are heard," says Washington, "And we don't want Tallahassee to be next. We don't want to be the next city or police department that is in the tabloids or headlines across the nation for the wrongful death of an African American at the hands of a police officer."

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