Palm Beach Gardens Police Department's Best Practices for Progressive Policing
The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department has always believed in and prescribed to progressive and extensive training, especially in the area of use of force and dealing with critical incidents. Three and a half years ago we opened a state-of-the-art Tactical Training Facility that is equipped with a use of force simulator and other modern equipment. Our ‘Guardian’ mentality training includes extensive de-escalation training, less lethal force training, crisis intervention training, procedural justice training, human diversity training, cultural sensitivity training, fair and impartial policing training, and much more. We do extensive background investigations on potential new hires, including psychological testing.
Our policies include a "duty to intervene" if an officer believes another officer is using excessive or unnecessary force, and a duty to seek medical attention for any suspect in need. Our officers are equipped with Body Worn Cameras and all uses of force are reviewed. We also have an early warning system in place that tracks and reviews potential officer issues.
We are nationally accredited through CALEA (Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies) and we are also accredited through CFA (Commission of Florida Accreditation.)
- As a CFA accredited department, we have been certified at the Excelsior level which is 15 continuous years without any non-compliance issues.
- With CALEA, we have been certified at the Meritorious level which is also 15 continuous years without any non-compliance issues.
- We are one of only two dually accredited agencies in Palm Beach County.
- We are one of only 28 dually accredited agencies in Florida out of 387.
More details on our Department’s policies and practices are listed below.
We have multiple first line supervisors working out on the streets. We are able to get these experienced tactical decision makers on critical scenes quickly.
We deploy multiple less-lethal options:
- ASP baton
- Bean bag deployment system
- OC Spray
- Rip Hobble Restraint which is used to avoid possible positional asphyxiation.
We have been fully deployed with an extensive Body Worn Camera program since 2016.
- We have strict policies and guidelines for governing Body Worn Cameras, which include activations and retention schedules. We have been recognized throughout Palm Beach County as having a model program.
USE OF FORCE
We have a progressive use of force policy which requires extensive reporting and review on every instance of use of force. This is reviewed by supervisors up the chain of command up to and including the Chief of Police. During the review, body worn camera footage is required to be reviewed. Also, as part of this policy, our officers have a duty to intervene when they believe another officer is using excessive or unnecessary force or engaging in any misconduct.
In our policy, choke holds are prohibited unless deadly force is authorized. For more than 15 years, we have had a database that tracks all use of force reports and an early warning system that tracks and reviews potential officer issues.
All Palm Beach Gardens Police Department officers receive monthly in-house training along with attending outside training courses. Each of our officers receive more than 100 hours of training per year. This amount of training hours is more than four times the number of training hours required by the state of Florida.
In December of 2017, we opened a state-of-the-art Tactical Training Facility for:
- Defensive tactics training
- Less lethal force training
- De-escalation training
- Realistic Scenario based training
- State-of-the-art use of force simulation
- Driving simulator
We adhere to the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) 30 Guiding Principles on Use of Force (Integrated Communications, Assessment, and Tactics - ICAT), which stresses the sanctity of life and “Guardian” mentality.
- We also train on PERF’s Critical Decision-Making Model for Use of Force.
- In 2017, we were the first agency in the state of Florida in which all officers received Peace Officer Pre-Escalation Training.
- Fair and Impartial Policing Training
- Cultural Sensitivity Training
- Human Diversity Training
- Crisis Intervention Training which is interacting with people with mental health issues who are in crisis, which is an alternative to using force.
We continually conduct refresher training on all these topics.
- Suits for Seniors
- Ball Stars Basketball Camps
- Palm Beach Gardens Public Safety Day
- MAMA (Mothers Against Murderers Association)
- Riviera Beach Youth Recreation Association – most Riviera Beach youth go to school and use our City’s recreations facilities.
- Member of the Clergy Coalition of Palm Beach County