Bias-Based Policing — A Guide for Community Education and Awareness
This information is designed to educate the public on the issue of bias-based policing to include what it is and what to do if you believe you have been a victim of bias-based policing.
Winter Haven Police Department
Chief of Police
To our Residents, Local Business Owners and Visitors
A fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States to all who live in this nation is the equal protection under the law. Along with this right to equal protection is the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. Citizens are free to walk and drive our streets, highways and other public places without police interference so long as they obey the law. They also are entitled to be free from crime, and from the depredations from criminals and to drive and walk our public ways safe from the actions of reckless and careless drivers. The Winter Haven Police Department is charged with protecting these rights for all, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical handicap, religion or other belief system.
Because of the nature of their business, law enforcement officers are required to be observant, to identify unusual occurrences and law violations and to act upon them. It is proactive enforcement that keeps our citizens free from crime and our streets and highways safe to drive upon. We shall accomplish this mission in a way that respects the dignity of all persons and yet sends a strong deterrent message to actual and potential law breakers that if they break the law, they are likely to encounter police.
The selection of individuals based solely on a trait common to a group for enforcement action. This includes but is not limited to: race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group or any other identifiable group.
It is the policy of the Winter Haven Police Department to patrol in a proactive manner, to aggressively investigate suspicious persons and circumstances, and to actively enforce the motor vehicle laws, while insisting that citizens will only be stopped or detained when there exists reasonable suspicion to believe they have committed, are committing, or are about to commit an infraction of the law.
How to Report Bias-Based Policing
Citizens who feel they have been stopped or searched due to bias-based policing are encouraged to file a complaint with the Department.
Complaints may be filed in person, by mail, electronic mail, or by telephone. To file a complaint in writing or by e-mail please include all facts including names, dates and places known. Please be as detailed as possible.
All complaints will be investigated.
WINTER HAVEN POLICE DEPARTMENT
125 N Lake Silver Dr., NW
Winter Haven, FL. 33881
You may also contact Internal Affairs by calling 863.837.5780 or by emailing your complaint to Inspector Steve Rusich .