Bias-Based Policing Statement
The following statement is provided to inform our citizens on the Treasure Island Police Department's prohibition against bias-based profiling as per Florida State Statute 166.0493.
To reaffirm the Treasure Island Police Department's commitment to unbiased policing, to clarify the circumstances in which officers can consider race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or social/economic status when making law enforcement decisions. To reinforce procedures that assures the public that we are providing service and enforcing laws in a safe, legal and professional manner.
Investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, searches, and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Officers must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, nonconsensual searches, and property seizures.
Officers shall not consider any bias in establishing either reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Similarly, except as provided in this policy, officers shall not consider race, ethnicity, or human diversity in deciding to initiate even those nonconsensual encounters that do not amount to legal detentions or to request consent to search.
Officers may take into account the reported race/ethnicity/human diversity of a specific suspect or suspects based on trustworthy, locally relevant information that links a person or persons of a specific race/ethnicity to a particular unlawful incident(s). The standard for "trustworthy" information is the same one that officers should apply to any information they use to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause. It means that the information is worthy of confidence. "Locally relevant" means information is worthy of local conditions. Race/ethnicity can never be used as the sole basis for probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
Except as provided in this statement, race/ethnicity/human diversity shall not be motivating factors in making law enforcement decisions.
Preventing Perceptions of Bias-Based Policing
In an effort to prevent inappropriate perceptions of biased law enforcement, each officer shall do the following when conducting pedestrian and vehicle stops:
- Be courteous and professional.
- Introduce him or herself to the citizen (providing name and agency affiliations), and state the reason for the stop as soon as practical, unless providing this information will compromise officer or public safety.
- Ensure that the detention is no longer than necessary to take appropriate action for the known or suspected offense, and that the citizen understands the purpose of reasonable delays.
- Answer any questions the citizen may have, including explaining options for traffic citation disposition, if relevant.
- Provide his or her name and unit number when requested, in writing or on a business card.
Supervisory personnel are expected to monitor officer's activity to ensure practices are compliant with policy and that practices are lawful, constitutional, and non-discriminatory.
The agency will provide training on the proper use of discretion and matters of constitutional policing and will ensure that officers receive training in human diversity issues as well as professional traffic stops. Initial training should include use of discretion, constitutional issues, human diversity issues, and professional traffic stops.
Any individual may make a complaint either by telephone, in writing, or in person. The complainant may choose to identify themselves or remain anonymous.
A complaint may be submitted to any member of the Treasure Island Police Department. The complaint, depending on its nature, is forwarded to either the Shift Supervisor or the Police Chief, and a written report is made. A thorough investigation of the events surrounding the incident in question is then conducted.
Citizens who accuse a member of the Police Department of committing a crime, violating a person's civil rights, dereliction of duty, or acts of gross misconduct, are given the opportunity to present their complaint to the Internal Affairs Investigator. Once the investigation is completed, the complainant is notified by letter from the Chief of Police as to the disposition of the complaint.
These complaints will be thoroughly investigated, regardless of a formal complaint being filed, and if founded, shall result in a recommendation for corrective action including, but not limited to counseling, training, punitive actions, and/or policy review and revision.
Any person may file a complaint with the department if they feel they have been stopped or searched based on illegal profiling, or subjected to improper treatment and no person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint.
The agency will annually review any internal data it believes is relevant to ensure compliance with the law and to determine any deficiencies in policies or practices. The agency will encourage open communication with the community about police discretion and constitutional policing.
This police web site was established to assist our citizens on the operation of the Treasure Island Police Department and encourages the community to provide input regarding our policies and practices.