Minority leaders and the police promote a brochure on improving relations
What should you do if a police officer knocks on your door or you see those flashing blue lights and you are pulled over for a traffic violation?
Elected minority leaders and law enforcement gathered on Friday to announce that guidance on these and other situations involving the police is contained in a new booklet titled: ‘You and the Police: Rights, Responsibilities and Realities’ .
Volusia County Council Deputy Chairwoman Barb Girtman, who also serves as Volusia County’s Minority Elected Vice Chairperson, said she hopes the information will lead to smoother encounters between law enforcement. and the public.
“You can tell by the group here today that the community is behind this, is connected to this. And we’re doing great collaboration across our county to keep our community safe,” Girtman said.
Mario Davis, executive director of Minority Elect, said 50,000 of the pamphlets have been printed and officers will have them in their vehicles and copies will be distributed through churches, community organizations and political parties, local Republicans and Democrats each receiving 2,000.
The brochure has been in preparation for at least two years.
The information in the pamphlet could keep the area out of the news, said DeLand City Commissioner Jessica Davis, who is a founding member and Volusia County Minority Elect Secretary.
“This pamphlet will not completely stop police brutality or stop a combat situation,” Davis said. “But our hope here in Volusia County is that we can do our part to not be the next big thing because of senseless, preventative violent crime.”
She said the brochure had do’s and don’ts, but a good start would be to keep several things in mind.
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“No. 1 is always polite and respectful. Never disparage a police officer. No. 2, stay calm. Control what you say as well as your body language and emotions. No. 3, do not argue with the police”, said Davis, for example while pleading your case during a traffic stop.
“Don’t try to have a courtroom discussion on the side of the road,” she added.
“Most importantly, we want the public to be equipped with de-escalation strategies, so law enforcement and the public will live to see another day,” Davis said.
She encouraged everyone to read the brochure and share it with friends and family.
Volusia Sheriff’s Office Captain Ben Yisrael, who is also a SWAT commander, said the sheriff’s office fully supports the project.
“Here are things that family members have shared with their children over the years, but not everyone has had a chance to hear or read these suggestions or tips that can help save your life. , can help turn a bad situation into a good one,” Yisrael said.
DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger is one of the law enforcement officers featured in the brochure.
Umberger said he represented the views of the Volusia Flagler Association of Chiefs of Police.
“I believe the information in this brochure will greatly help citizens and police officers have safer and more effective interactions,” Umberger said.
He said the pamphlet was community policing.
“The pamphlet itself is an act of community policing, as it educates the public on basic laws and the rights and responsibilities of citizens under the law,” Umberger said. “At the same time, it also provides information on the requirements of the law that police officers must follow.”
He said it would help build trust.
“And last but not least, the information in the brochure hopefully leads to safer, less contentious and more effective encounters between law enforcement and the community with the goal of promoting professional police conduct and ‘get citizen compliance,’ Umberger said.
Another speaker was Cynthia Slater, president of the Daytona Beach branch of the NAACP.
“Today is a good day. No, today is a great day as we the citizens of Volusia County stand together in unity as we seek ways to bring law enforcement together and all citizens to protect the rights of individuals and for all of us to understand county laws,” Slater said.
She said she hoped the information in the pamphlet would improve encounters with the police.
“In presenting this new guide to interacting with law enforcement, I hope it will give everyone, young or old and regardless of race, suggestions for what to do if someone is arrested. by law enforcement for whatever reason,” she said.
Here are some tips contained in “You and the police, rights, responsibilities and realities”.
- If the police knock and demand entry to your home, politely ask them why. You don’t have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge or it’s an emergency. In such an emergency, such as someone screaming for help inside or when officers are chasing someone, the police can enter your home and search it briefly without a warrant.
- If the police insist on entering without a warrant, ask for the officers’ names and ID numbers and why they want to enter. “Otherwise, stay away.”
- If you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent and speak to a lawyer before answering questions from the police. The police are not required to read you Miranda’s warning, such as the warning that you have the right to remain silent, unless they ask you questions.
- The police can stop and question you if they have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic offense or broken another law. During such a check, the police are allowed to “pat” your clothes for concealed weapons if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are armed. Do not resist physically.
- Show your driver’s license and vehicle registration on request. The police can search the interior of your car if they have probable cause, there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle. But they can’t look any further without a warrant.
- If you receive a citation, you must sign it. Otherwise, you could be arrested. Signing a citation shows that you have received it. Signing a citation is not an admission of guilt.
- You do not have to consent to a search and if you do not consent, be sure to tell the police. If you agree, it may affect your rights later in court.
- It is not recommended to “speak badly” or criticize a police officer, although it may be legally protected speech. What you say can be used against you and could lead to an officer arresting you.
- Don’t argue with the police.
- “Although refusing to answer questions is not a crime in itself, it can make the police suspicious of you and potentially lead to a charge depending on the circumstances. Remember that anything you say can be used against you.
- Do not run.
- Don’t touch a policeman.
- Do not resist even if you are innocent.
- Don’t interfere when an agent is doing their job.
- If you believe you have been the victim of police misconduct, remember the officer’s name, ID number or patrol car number. Write down what happened as soon as you can and try to find witnesses. If you have been injured, take pictures of the injuries, see a doctor and tell them what happened.
- File a written complaint with the Department’s Internal Affairs Division.
- You can also get more help by contacting the ACLU, NAACP, and/or a private attorney.