Fair and Impartial Policing Annual Administrative Review

In accordance with policy and accreditation standards, the Office of Professional Standards conducted an administrative review of traffic stop procedures, search warrants, and asset forfeitures as it relates to fair and impartial policing. The review addressed agency policy, training, equipment, and disciplinary issues.

Agency Policies

The importance of equal and un-biased treatment of all citizens is emphasized throughout agency policies. Highlighted policies include a foundation in this regard with the agency’s Philosophy of Enforcement policy (10), Fair and Impartial Policing policy (11), Traffic Enforcement policy (453), Seizure policy (125), and Search Warrants policy (925).

Philosophy of Enforcement (101)

The primary missions of the Clearwater Police Department are the protection of life and property, the maintenance of peace and order, the provision of emergency and other police related services to the public, and the consistent, impartial enforcement of the law. Each employee shall ensure that all citizens receive equal treatment under the law without regard to race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, political affiliation, or any other legally protected characteristics and shall grant to all persons the civil rights which they are guaranteed.

Fair and Impartial Policing (11)

Biased policing is prohibited. It is the policy of the Clearwater Police Department to treat all persons in a fair, impartial, equitable and objective manner, in accordance with law, and without consideration of their individual demographics as defined in this policy.

Traffic Enforcement (453)

All on duty patrol officers shall take the appropriate enforcement action for each violation of traffic law witnessed or reported to them. All enforcement actions shall be accomplished in a firm, fair, impartial, and courteous manner. The Clearwater Police Department does not recognize traffic quotas as a traffic enforcement incentive.

Seizure of Contraband (125)

Biased policing is prohibited in asset forfeiture and seizure proceedings. Additionally, the agency shall not establish any quota requirements for employees relating to the seizure of property under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

Search Warrants (925)

All requests for search warrants must be in conformance with Florida State Statutes Chapter 933 and Florida Legal Guidelines. The Clearwater Police Department in conjunction with the Pinellas/Pasco State Attorney’s Office will ensure that issued search warrants shall be based upon probable cause and shall not intentionally violate any person’s constitutional rights to be free from unlawful searches and/or seizures.


All new sworn personnel are required to attend Fair and Impartial Policing training in the post academy training period. Officers are also required to complete the Florida Department of Law Enforcement course “Discriminatory Profiling and Professional Traffic Stops” every four years.

One of the strategic goals of the agency’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 is to update the agency’s fair and impartial policing curriculum and once again complete training of all sworn personnel. The agency trained six new instructors in this area. The training was not able to be conducted in 2020 due to COVID-19.


In the interest of transparency, the agency was authorized to implement a body-worn camera program. In late 2020, a policy was developed, equipment was acquired, and training was completed. All patrol officers and sergeants and Special Enforcement Unit detectives will be equipped with the cameras. The program was implemented beginning January 2021.

A strategic goal within the Strategic Plan for 2017-2022 is to equip new patrol vehicles with digital and audio recording equipment. While this is still a goal, the implementation has been delayed due to other budgetary needs.

Disciplinary Issues

No disciplinary action was needed in 2022. There were two (2) biased policing-type complaints. The complaints were properly investigated and reviewed by the appropriate chain of command and subsequently determined to be exonerated.

Demographics and Statistics

City Of Clearwater Demographics
Population* 113,723 (2017 est.)
White 78.8%
Black 10.9%
Hispanic/Latino (any race) 14.2%
Asian 2.1%
Two or More Races 2.4%
Other 5.8%
Male 48.3%
Female 51.7%

*Source: 2017 Florida State Office of Economic and Demographic Research

Source: 2010 United States Census Bureau

Traffic Stop Procedures/Statistics

In accordance with policy, officers will enforce the law and provide police services equally, fairly, and without discrimination toward any individual or group. The following data relating to traffic citations and warnings for 2020 was obtained from ACISS and Tri-Tech:

Traffic Citations
Total 9160
White 5106 56%
Black 1778 19%
Hispanic/Latino (any race) 1761 19%
Other 515 6%
Male 6263 68%
Female 2882 32%

Traffic Warnings
Total 18094
White 7724 43%
Black 2736 15%
Hispanic/Latino (any race) 1930 11%
Other 645 3%
Unknown 5059 28%
Male 8334 46%
Female 4701 26%
Unknown 5059 28%

Traffic citations for 2020 were down 39% and traffic warnings were down 40% when compared to the previous year. The significant decrease is likely due to the pandemic that began early in the year that resulted in altered operational responses. Percentages for each race remained consistent with the previous year.

Search Warrants

In accordance with policy, officers must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions (field contacts), traffic stops, arrests, nonconsensual searches, search warrants, and in asset seizure and forfeiture efforts.

Many search warrants are the result of cases that start with information derived from confidential informants. There were 13 search warrants executed, resulting in 20 arrests, which is similar to last year where there were 14 search warrants resulting in 21 arrests. Percentages for each race remained consistent with the previous year.

Search Warrants
Total Search Warrants 13
White 2
Black 11
Hispanic/Latino (any race) 2
Other 0
Total Arrests 20
White 4 20%
Black 14 70%
Hispanic/Latino (any race) 2 10%
Other 0 0%

Asset Forfeiture

General Order 125.001 and the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act authorize the department to seize and forfeit any vessel, motor vehicle, aircraft, currency, or other personal property or contraband article which has been used in violation of any provision of the Act. It is the policy of the Clearwater Police Department to utilize the forfeiture provisions to the fullest extent possible in the department’s efforts against crime, while simultaneously protecting innocent property owners. Additionally, the department has promulgated policy outlining that biased policing is prohibited in asset forfeiture and seizure proceedings. In 2020, the agency did not have any asset forfeiture cases that were completed in the court system.


As detailed above, the agency has established policies regarding fair and impartial policing with traffic stop procedures and other police service activities which are reviewed annually for compliance. Training is provided to ensure an understanding of fair and impartial policing. All complaints of biased policing are investigated, and a disciplinary process is in place if needed. There are no additional equipment issues that need to be addressed. A review of the statistical data confirms the effectiveness of agency hiring practices, policies, procedures, training, and complaint process.