Fair and Impartial Policing



11.1 Purpose

Biased policing undermines legitimate law enforcement efforts, alienates community members, and fosters community distrust. The purpose of this policy is to emphasize the agency’s commitment to unbiased, equitable treatment of all persons.

11.2 Policy

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.

11.3 Definitions

  1. Biased Policing – The inappropriate consideration of specified characteristics while enforcing the law or providing police services.
  2. Specified Characteristics – Race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, political affiliation, or any other legally protected characteristics.

11.4 Fair & Impartial Treatment

  1. All persons, irrespective of race or other distinctions, are to be treated in the same basic manner under the same or similar circumstances. This does not mean that all persons in the same or similar circumstances can or must be treated identically. Reasonable concessions and accommodations may be, and sometimes should be, made when dealing with individuals with physical or mental disabilities injury, illness, or similar conditions, or when information about them necessitates different treatment.
  2. Officers will enforce the law and provide police services equally, fairly, and without discrimination toward any individual or group.
  3. Agency personnel may only consider the specified characteristics when performing law enforcement duties or delivering police services when credible, timely intelligence relevant to the locality links a person or people of a specified characteristic to a specific unlawful incident, or to specific unlawful incidents, criminal patterns or schemes. In those circumstances, personnel may rely on these specified characteristics only in combination with other appropriate factors.
  4. It is biased policing if an officer’s decisions and/or actions are based on the fact that the individual’s demographics are different from the demographics of the majority of the residents in the area in which the individual is found.

11.5 Handling of Complaints

  1. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing a complaint, or discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint.
  2. Non-supervisory personnel who are contacted by a person who wishes to make a complaint involving biased policing shall notify the on-duty supervisor.
  3. All complaints of biased policing will be fully investigated and documented.
  4. Members who witness or become aware of instances of biased policing shall report the incident to a supervisor. When appropriate, members should intervene at the time of the incident.
  5. Supervisors shall ensure that all personnel in their command are familiar with this policy and will be alert and respond to indications that biased policing is occurring.
  6. Complaints that cannot be resolved effectively and appropriately by a supervisor, or that are determined to be potentially serious in nature, shall be forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards for investigation.
  7. Violations of this policy will result in corrective measures that may include remedial training, counseling, reprimand, or formal discipline up to and including termination.

11.6 Training

Sworn personnel will receive initial and periodic training and, where deemed necessary, remedial training in fair & impartial policing issues to include subjects related to police ethics, cultural diversity, police-citizen interaction, standards of conduct, implicit bias, legal aspects of biased policing, and related topics suitable for preventing incidents of biased policing.

11.7 Administrative Review

  1. The Office of Professional Standards shall review and maintain data relating specifically to complaints of biased policing.
  2. On an annual basis, the Office of Professional Standards Commander, or designee, will conduct an administrative review of traffic stop, asset forfeiture, and seizure procedures related to biased policing along with a summary of biased policing complaints to include the findings and any corrective action taken. The review should indicate whether policy, training, equipment, or disciplinary issues should be addressed. The review will be provided to the Chief of Police.

11.8 Community Education/Awareness

The community will be made aware of the agency’s biased policing policy via the agency web site, instruction in the Citizen Police Academy, and through the “How to Make a Complaint” brochure that is available in police department facilities.