Biased policing is the inappropriate consideration of specified characteristics while enforcing the law or providing law enforcement services. Specified characteristics includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, political status, or any other legally protected characteristics.
The purpose of this policy is to unequivocally state that biased policing in law enforcement is unacceptable and prohibited conduct.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office objectives include protecting the public by enforcing the law in a fair and impartial manner, recognizing both the statutory and judicial limitations of authority, while protecting the rights of all persons. Along with this right to equal protection is the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. Citizens are free to walk and drive our streets, highways, and other public places without police interference so long as they obey the law. They also are entitled to be free from crime, and from the depredations of criminals, and to drive and walk our public ways safe from the actions of reckless and careless drivers.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office is charged with protecting these rights regardless of: race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, political status, or any other legally protected characteristics.
Because of the nature of law enforcement, deputies are required to be observant, to identify unusual occurrences and law violations, and to act upon them. It is this proactive enforcement that keeps our citizens free from crime, our streets and highways safe to drive upon, and that detects and apprehends criminals.
This policy is intended to assist deputies in accomplishing this total mission in a way that respects the dignity of all persons and yet sends a strong deterrent message to actual and potential lawbreakers that if they break the law, they are likely to encounter law enforcement officers.
Reporting Biased Policing
All persons are encouraged to inform the Sheriff's Office if they feel they have been stopped or searched based on biased policing. If it becomes necessary for a complaint to be filed, it will be given a fair and thorough investigation. Depending on the seriousness of the allegation, complaints may be investigated at a supervisory level or by the Internal Affairs Unit. Complaints may be submitted by completing the Internal Affairs Complaint Form available on the agency website or by contacting the Internal Affairs Unit at (772)462-3627.