Orlando hires outside groups to study police as part of reform initiative

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon have announced the Community Trust and Equity Initiative. 

“Following the horrific death of George Floyd in May, the power of the Black Lives Matter movement in our city, Chief Rolon and I heard from residents who asked for a review of our department’s use of force policies. And (they) encouraged the city of Orlando to strengthen efforts to address racial inequity in our community,” Mayor Dyer said.   

The city council decided it was the best interest of The City Beautiful to spend $850,000 to bring in two outside consulting firms to take essentially dissect the department and its procedures from top to bottom.  

“The fact they’re coming in saying hey this is where you need to improve, there is a need for improvement, you can’t put a price on that,” Chief Rolon said. 

Dr. Theron Bowman, a former police chief who now owns his own consulting firm, is bringing in 24 experts from across the country to divide and conquer. 

“We’ll look at use of force incidents, we’ll look at traffic stops, we’ll look at how officers interact with community members on different calls for service,” Dr. Bowman said.  

Dr. Nelson, Bethune Cookman University’s Center for Law and Social Justice, is really focusing bridging the gap. 

“It’s not policing people. It’s policing with people,” Dr. Nelson said, adding that he will be working with officers having honest conversations with the community.  “Why is it that you feel fearful and distrustful of law enforcement and work through those things.”

The project is starting in October and is expected to take eight months. Dr. Bowman tells FOX 35 News that he will be providing feedback throughout. 

“Any time we have identified something that we think would warrant immediate attention, we want to make sure we bring it immediately to the attention to the chief and city authorities,” Dr. Bowman said. 

His experts will also be meeting with folks in neighborhoods throughout Orlando, looking for feedback.