Orlando Police Department bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants, Chief Rolón announces

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón instituted several policy changes during a virtual workshop with Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City Council on Monday, including a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

Chief Rolón outlined the changes coming to the agency during the workshop, citing that "we realize change is needed and we, I, will make sure change comes."

Some of the changes outlined were:

  • A ban on chokeholds, which Chief Rolón said the agency had not explicitly banned before but also did not teach to its officers.
  • A ban on no-knock warrants, which the Chief said was seldomly used by Orlando's police officers anyways.
  • The agency's use-of-force policy will now require that officers give a verbal warning if safe and practical prior to opening fire on a suspect. 
  • Expanded training for officers on how to de-escalate possibly violent situations and respond to people with mental health issues, those with autism, and active shooters. De-escalation will also be emphasized in agency policies.
  • The adoption of a virtual firearms training simulator known as "Virtra 300."
  • The creation of a mobile training unit that will train officers in the field on an ongoing basis, instead of pulling them off the streets to do so. 
  • The agency's internal affairs system will be upgraded to review complaints more efficiently, including the assessment of whether de-escalation techniques have been used.
  • Plans to be more transparent with the community and to encourage diversity within the department.

“We have made it very clear to our officers that we all have a duty to intervene, but not just when they’re using force,” Chief Rolón said. “I’m talking we have a duty to intervene when officers are maybe not communicating properly, professionally.”

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City council members got to give the chief feedback on his plans.

“We all need to work together to be the change that we requested,” Orlando City Council member Regina Hill said. “I do want even the community to know that I support law enforcement.”

Mayor Buddy Dyer added that these changes will be felt city-wide.

“It’s not just OPD,” Dyer said. “As the city government, we’re responsible to take a look at all of our departments and procedures to make sure that we’re offering the best we can offer. So, I’m not doing this as something that’s out of the ordinary for us to make sure that our police department is the best police department in the state of Florida.’

The workshop was not open to the public, but the Orlando Police Department did stream it online so people could see what they were saying.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch the full virtual workshop

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The workshop comes after another weekend of protests. On the Fourth of July, demonstrators marched through Downtown Orlando, chanting about the injustices that Black people face.

"My family and a lot of people all around the country do not celebrate July 4th," one protester, Lawanna Gelzer, told FOX 35 Orlando. "We're not celebrating because of the systemic racism and that when the country actually got its independence back in 1776, people like me were enslaved."

She also spoke of the change needed in Orlando, stating that "Mayor Dyer -- no more lip service. Chief Rolon -- no more I care, I understand. Coffee with a cop. We've gone through all of that. We're sick of that. Make the change immediately."

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.