What is Bias-Based Policing?
The detention, interdiction, or other disparate treatment of any person based solely on their race, color, ethnicity, national origin , age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political status, disability, religion or other belief system, or the inappropriate consideration of specified characteristics when enforcing the law or providing police service.
It is the policy of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department to patrol in a proactive manner, to proactively investigate suspicious persons and circumstances, solve problems through the community policing philosophy, and to actively enforce the laws of the State of Florida and ordinances of the City of Fort Lauderdale, 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 a violation of law. Persons having contact with members of this agency shall be treated in a fair, impartial, equitable and objective manner, in accordance with law and without consideration of their individual demographics as defined in this policy. Bias-based policing in traffic contacts, field contacts, searches and seizures and in asset seizures and forfeiture efforts, or in any other manner is strictly prohibited.
Investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, searches, and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Declaration of Rights – Section 12 of the Florida Constitution. Officers must be able to articulate specific facts and circumstances that support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for investigative detentions, traffic stops, arrests, nonconsensual searches, and property seizures.
Officers may take into account the reported race, ethnicity or other specified characteristics of a specific suspect or suspects based on trustworthy, locally relevant information that links a person or persons of a specific race, ethnicity or unique characteristics to a particular unlawful incident(s). Race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political status, disability, religion or other belief system or unique characteristics can never be used as the sole basis for probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
Complaints of Bias-Based Policing
Any person may file a complaint with the Department if they feel they have been subjected to bias-based policing. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint.
The Department will take corrective measures if bias-based policing occurs. All complaints of bias-based policing shall be investigated by the Office of Internal Affairs.
Complaints may be filed in person, by mail, electronic mail or by telephone.
Phone Number: 954-828-6956
(Monday-Friday 8am – 4pm)
Fort Lauderdale Police Department
Office of Internal Affairs
1300 West Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312
Download the Bias-Based Policing Policy (in .PDF format)