Case: 2007 DOJ Investigation of Orange County Sheriff's Office

No Court

Filed Date: Jan. 30, 2007

Closed Date: 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 30, 2007, the United States Department of Justice notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) of its intention to investigate the use of electronic control devices (ECD’s) by OCSO pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. The investigation of OCSO was focused solely on an alleged pattern or practice of excessive force in OCSO’s use of electronic control weapons (ECW). The Department of Justice conducted two multi-day on-site visi…

On January 30, 2007, the United States Department of Justice notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) of its intention to investigate the use of electronic control devices (ECD’s) by OCSO pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. The investigation of OCSO was focused solely on an alleged pattern or practice of excessive force in OCSO’s use of electronic control weapons (ECW).

The Department of Justice conducted two multi-day on-site visits of the Sheriff’s Office during June and November of 2007. During those on-site tours, the DOJ representatives reviewed all relevant Sheriff’s Office policies, audited agency training classes, participated in ride-alongs with agency field personnel, and conducted extensive interviews with a cross-section of Orange County Sheriff’s Office command staff, supervisors and deputies.

On August 20, 2008, the DOJ issued a findings letter, which recommended certain practices and procedures to improve the Sheriff’s Office written policies, training, and accountability processes pertaining to the use of ECD weapons. For instance, the DOJ recommended that OCSO policy require a verbal warning prior to ECW deployment; expressly state that ECW deployment is appropriate only when encountering Level 4 or

higher resistance and that ECW deployment is inappropriate when deputies encounter passive resistance as defined in Levels 1 through 3; revise its ECW policy to prohibit ECW deployment against handcuffed or otherwise restrained subjects unless the subject is exhibiting Level 5 or higher resistance; prohibit the deployment of the ECW against a subject in physical control of a vehicle in motion, absent exigent circumstances.

Since the investigation, the DOJ and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office have worked

together to revise and improve the existing OCSO policies and procedures. OCSO contended that it has made considerable progress with improving OCSO’s written policies, training, and accountability processes pertaining to the use of CED weapons.

In September 2010, the DOJ and the OCSO entered into a Memorandum of Agreement which set forth objective measurements to enable the DOJ to verify compliance. In the settlement, OCSO agreed to: develop and implement an ECW policy to prohibit reckless and careless use and storage of the ECW; implement policies to train supervisors; instruct deputies to notify emergency medical personnel under circumstances; and develop training courses.

After reviewing policy, attending ECD training sessions, reviewing Use of Force reports and the accountability measures implemented, the DOJ issued its findings determining that as of October 1, 2011, the OCSO had demonstrated substantial compliance. Since then, the DOJ entered a period of continued monitoring, which expired March 31, 2013.

On April 2, 2013, DOJ notified Orange County Sheriff's Office that OCSO has maintained compliance for 18 months as required by the agreement. The data also demonstrated a significant decrease in the use of Electronic Control Devices.

The case is closed.

Summary Authors

Ginny Lee (3/6/2017)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albritton, A. Brian (Florida)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Dominguez, Silvia Judith (District of Columbia)

Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)

Nolan, William E. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Saucedo, Luis E. (District of Columbia)

Schmidt, Whitney (Florida)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albritton, A. Brian (Florida)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Dominguez, Silvia Judith (District of Columbia)

Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)

Nolan, William E. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Saucedo, Luis E. (District of Columbia)

Schmidt, Whitney (Florida)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Dunlap, Eric (Florida)

Rice, Bernadine (Florida)

Sale, Jon A. (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

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. 30, 2007

Closing Date: 2013

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The United States of America, represented by the United States Department of Justice.

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

The Orange County Sheriff (Orange), County

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

None of the above

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2011 - 2013

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Reporting

Required disclosure

Training

Issues

General:

Excessive force

Pattern or Practice