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Case: DOJ Investigation of Escambia County Sheriff's Office

No Court

Filed Date: Jan. 9, 2009

Closed Date: Oct. 14, 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This investigation of the policing practices of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office (ECSO) was opened by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on Jan. 9, 2009, and closed on September 4, 2012. There was a simultaneous Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) investigation into the jail operated by the ECSO. That investigation is included in this Clearinghouse here. DOJ closed the policing investigation without findings, but chose to issue a technical assistance letter to…

This investigation of the policing practices of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office (ECSO) was opened by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on Jan. 9, 2009, and closed on September 4, 2012. There was a simultaneous Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) investigation into the jail operated by the ECSO. That investigation is included in this Clearinghouse here.

DOJ closed the policing investigation without findings, but chose to issue a technical assistance letter to the ECSO. In it, DOJ did conclude that there were systematic deficiencies relating to the way in which ESCO officers used force that, if left unaddressed, might result in civil rights violations. Accordingly, the DOJ made three recommendations that would reduce the risk of future violations.

First, the DOJ found that ECSO's policies for use of force were lacking in accuracy, detail, and clarity. The DOJ recommended developing a new set of well crafted use of force policies that accurately state the constitutional standard for permissible force. The policies should also include terms regarding crowd control and guidelines for de-escalation. And new policies regarding firearms, canines, electronic control weapons, and chemical weapons were recommended. Second, the DOJ recommended that ECSO require its deputies to generate reports that appropriately detail how they and their colleagues use force while in the field. These reports should be prepared both when using force and when witnessing force used by another deputy. Third, the DOJ noted that ECSO should provide counseling, guidance, and training following a deputy's use of force. Supervisors should conduct on-site investigations of incidents and prepare oversight reports, should regularly review deputy conduct, should implement an early warning system, and improve supervision over the use of canines.

Summary Authors

Richard Jolly (11/25/2014)

Jonah Hudson-Erdman (9/5/2021)

Related Cases

CRIPA Investigation of the Escambia County Jail, No Court (2009)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Technical Assistance Letter

Sept. 4, 2012

Sept. 4, 2012

Findings Letter/Report

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 9, 2009

Closing Date: Oct. 14, 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

DOJ Investigation of the use of force by the Escambia County Sheriffs Office

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Escambia County Sheriffs Office (Escambia), County

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, 34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

None of the above

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Excessive force

Incident/accident reporting & investigations