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Cripa Miami Pd Investigation Recommendations 3-13-03

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U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division

Special Litigation Section - PHB
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

March 13, 2003

Mr. Alejandro Vilarello
City Attorney
City Attorney’s Office
Miami Riverside Center
444 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33130

Investigation of the Miami Police Department

Dear Mr. Vilarello:
As you know, the Civil Rights Division is conducting an
investigation of the Miami Police Department (MPD), pursuant to
the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,
42 U.S.C. § 14141 ("Section 14141"). In 2002, Mayor Manuel Diaz
and Chief Raul Martinez separately requested a thorough
investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the MPD’s policies,
procedures, and practices. As an initial matter, we would like
to express our appreciation for the considerable cooperation we
have received thus far from the City, Chief John Timoney, former
Chief Martinez, and the men and women of the Miami Police
At the beginning of our investigation, we told you that we
would inform you as soon as possible if concerns arose during the
course of the investigation. To date, we and our consultants
have reviewed relevant policies and procedures, interviewed City
officials, members of the Office of Professional Compliance and
the Community Relations Board, and a broad cross-section of
members of the MPD, including command-level and line officers.
We have also talked with representatives of the Fraternal Order
of Police and the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association,
as well as community leaders and citizens. Based on this
preliminary review, we have identified several areas of concern,
which we set forth below, along with our recommendations for

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addressing these problems. We have previously addressed most of
these areas of concern in our exit interviews with Chief
Martinez, the command staff, and the training staff.
Additionally, on January 29, 2003, we gave Chief Timoney an
overview of our preliminary concerns and recommendations thus
Important aspects of our fact gathering process have yet to
be completed, most notably reviewing incident reports, shootings
files, citizen complaint files, arrest reports, and early warning
system files. This letter is not meant to be exhaustive, but
rather focuses on significant concerns we have identified and
recommendations we can provide based on our review thus far of
the MPD’s policies and procedures that are contained in the
Departmental Orders (DO) manual,1 selected Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs),2 and our observations of officers in the
field. This letter is therefore preliminary in nature and does
not reach any conclusion about whether there is a violation of
Section 14141.
The issues identified below focus on the following areas:
use of force and use of force reporting, vehicle pursuit driving
policy, search and seizure, complaints and investigations, early
warning system, training, and structure of the DO manual
generally. Please note that we may identify additional issues as
our investigation progresses. We would also be happy to provide
examples of policies used by other police departments that might
address some of the issues we raise below, as well as to review
additional policy revisions the MPD makes.

We reviewed the March 2002 version of the DOs, and the
December 2002 version of the Taser DO. We have requested but
have not yet received the most current versions of DO 9.13
(Juvenile/Missing Persons detail) and DO 12.10 (untitled) which
we understand were recently revised.

We reviewed the following SOPs: Internal Affairs,
Canine, Special Threat Response Team, Tactical and General
Investigations, Violent Crime Intervention Unit, Homicide, and
Inspections. We have not yet finished reviewing the Patrol SOPs,
which we received on December 17, 2002.

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Use of Force Policies

Definition of use of force and use of force continuum

The MPD is not consistent in its definition of appropriate
use of force. Departmental Order (Use of Force,
Procedures) appropriately limits use of force to those situations
where force is reasonably necessary. However, in other places in
the DOs the definition of use of force does not meet
constitutional requirements. For example, DO
(Arrests, Unnecessary Force) states that "members shall not use
unnecessary force" in making an arrest. Similarly, DO
(Degree of Force to be Used in Making an Arrest) states that
officers will be justified in using force if "they fulfill their
duty in a consistent, careful, and prudent manner." In addition,
the Internal Affairs SOP governing the duties and
responsibilities of members refers to a “flagrant use of
excessive force” as the standard for review of excessive force
incidents by Internal Affairs. Finally, DO (Situations
Requiring A Control of Persons Report) could be read as excluding
uses of force from its definition, such as pain compliance holds
and takedowns, that should be included. We recommend that the
MPD review all of its DOs and SOPs for consistency on the
standard for acceptable uses of force.
The MPD also fails to provide officers with clear guidance
on what constitutes a reasonable use of force. The main use of
force policy, DO 2.6, does not contain a use of force continuum,
matrix or any description of levels of resistance and appropriate
responses, and does not address de-escalation techniques. The DO
on Using Force, DO, refers to a use of force matrix card
given to officers at training, and at the officer survival
training we observed in September 2002, MPD trainers referred to
a document entitled "Recommended Use of Force/Levels of
Resistance Matrix" as its use of force matrix. However, as our
consultants advised Chief Martinez and Chief Timoney, the matrix
we saw at survival training is outdated, and does not include
some of the specific types of force MPD officers use, such as
canines and Tasers. Lack of specific guidance may lead officers
to believe they are justified in using force in situations in
which it would be unreasonable or unnecessary.
When properly designed and implemented, a use of force
continuum is a fluid and flexible policy guide. Many major city

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police departments employ a use of force continuum because it
provides a useful tool in training officers to consider lower
levels of force first, which protects the safety of both the
officer and the civilian. Moreover, a use of force continuum
emphasizes that officers’ presence, verbal commands, and use of
"soft hands" techniques (using hands to escort rather than
control subjects) can often be used as an alternative to other
more significant uses of force.
We recommend that the MPD create a DO governing use of force
that includes a use of force continuum. The continuum should
include the actual types of force instruments used by the MPD,
including canines and Tasers. We suggest that the continuum
clearly indicate which response is appropriate for which type of
resistance encountered.


The MPD’s canine policy, DO 12.6, fails to identify the
MPD’s canine handling methodology, and does not define important
elements of canine use. The MPD does not specify whether it uses
a "find and bite" policy (which allows dogs to bite upon locating
a subject) or a "find and bark" policy (requiring a dog to bark,
rather than bite). Based on our discussions with canine unit
command staff, supervisors, and officers it appears that the MPD
actually uses a “find and bite” policy because the dog is
trained, when off leash, to bite when it encounters a subject,
regardless of whether the subject is actively resisting or
attempting to flee. Based on our discussion with canine unit
officers, we understand that most newly acquired canines arrive
at the MPD trained to alert rather than bite in most
circumstances, and that the MPD retrains the dogs to bite.
A "find and bark" policy prevents canines from biting
subjects in situations in which such force is not necessary to
effect an arrest or protect the safety of officers or civilians,
such as where a subject is passively hiding in a building. We
understand from our meetings with Chief Martinez and Chief
Timoney that the MPD continues to evaluate "find and bark" as
compared to "find and bite" policies. We look forward to
learning the MPD’s conclusions. We recommend that the MPD
explicitly adopt a "find and bark" policy.
The MPD’s policy provides in DO (Prohibited
Canine Usages) that canines are not to be used to "intimidate or

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frighten a suspect." Despite the prohibition on using canines for
intimidation, DO (Crowd Control) permits the use of
canines "[o]n approval by the Chief of Police, when specifically
requested at any event where very large crowds are anticipated"
to serve as a "high visibility deterrent." We believe that the
MPD’s anti-intimidation policy and the crowd control policy as
implemented in the above example are contradictory. We recommend
that the MPD prohibit the use of canines as a deterrent to
protect property only, and that the MPD authorize the use of
canines for crowd control only during riots, potential riot
conditions, or other large unauthorized assemblies where there is
a reasonable likelihood that injury to officers or others could
occur, and where crowds cannot be controlled by any other means.3
We found several instances where the canine SOPs contain
important policy directives that we believe also belong in the
general DOs. We also found instances where the policy stated in
the canine SOPs was inconsistent with the statement of policy in
the DOs. All officers, not just canine officers, should learn
the MPD’s policies governing the use of force with respect to
canines, since patrol officers are almost always present when
canines are deployed. In general, we recommend, for all units,
that all important policies contained in the SOPs be included in
the DOs as well, and that they be consistent with each other (see
section VIII, Structure and organization of Departmental Orders,
As the first example, canine SOP 5 specifies that canines
may be used, with permission of a commanding officer, to "search
for an offender of any crime whereby the offender is armed or has
armed himself with a weapon or firearm during the commission of a
crime." However, the canine policy, DO 12.6, permits canines to
be used "where an offender or offenders are believed to be a
threat," and does not further limit the use of canines other than
to prohibit them from being used to apprehend traffic violators
and shoplifters. The DO fails to provide guidance to an officer
about what constitutes a "threat," and therefore could lead to
officers to use canines in situations where their use could
constitute excessive force. We recommend that the MPD clearly
We learned that the MPD routinely used canines as crowd
control at football stadiums as a means of deterring citizens
from damaging the goal posts. We understand that Chief Martinez
directed that canines no longer be used at football games. This
change is consistent with our recommendation.

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state the limits of when a canine can be used in the Departmental
Orders as well as in the SOPs, and ensure that the policies
conform with each other.
A second example concerns verbal warnings. The canine DO
does not require verbal warnings before releasing a canine.
However, canine SOP 5 requires an officer searching a building to
give one warning identifying himself or herself as a police
officer, announcing that police dogs are present and will be
released, and demanding that the subject surrender. There is no
requirement, in either the DO or the SOPs, that officers warn
that the dog will bite. We recommend that the DO 12.6 require,
absent exigent circumstances, a set number of announcements that
a canine will be deployed, and a sufficient interval between
announcement and deployment to allow for subject surrender, when
a canine is used to search a building. We also recommend that
the warnings be repeated on each floor of a building, and that
patrol officers be trained and authorized to give warnings when
they are responsible for maintaining perimeters. Finally, in all
situations where a warning is given, the warnings should state
clearly that the dog will bite.
Moreover, the SOP appears to require the full warning in
English only, requiring only "Policia Salga" ("Police – come
out") and "Police. Soti" (sic) ("Police – leave") as a warning in
Spanish and Creole, respectively. Officers and command staff
confirmed that the full warning was not given in Spanish or
Creole. Failure to require multiple and complete warnings in a
language that the subject can understand can result in excessive
force being used, because it eliminates the opportunity for a
subject to surrender before getting bitten. We recommended to
Chief Martinez in September that the MPD give warnings in all
three languages, and learned the next day that the MPD had
already started developing these warnings. We commend the MPD
for its quick response.
A third example concerns the MPD’s policies governing recall
of a canine. Canine DO 12.6 does not provide guidance on how and
under what circumstances an officer must recall a dog after
deployment, although we did learn from talking to officers that
it is the MPD’s practice to recall the dog as soon as the subject
surrenders. The governing SOP, however, mandates recall if the
officer loses sight of an off leash canine, but does not
specifically require the officer to recall the dog once the
subject has stopped resisting. This could lead to the use of

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excessive force if the canine continues to bite once the subject
has stopped resisting or trying to flee. We recommend the DO be
rewritten to resolve the discrepancy between the SOP and the
practice regarding recalls, and to include specific guidance on
recalling the canine.
Fourth, DO 12.6 does not clearly define a canine
apprehension. However, the SOP governing the duties and
responsibilities of canine handlers appears to count as a canine
apprehension any time a subject: (a) is physically captured or
located by the canine team; (b) surrenders because of the canine
deployment; or (c) is arrested because of the presence and
deterrence of the canine. We believe the standards articulated
under (b) and (c) are vague, and could allow canine officers to
count as a canine apprehension situations where the canine had
only a peripheral role. This, in turn, could artificially lower
the canine bite ratio by comparing the number of bites to a
larger number of "apprehensions" than can legitimately be counted
as such. We recommend as a more appropriate standard that an
apprehension be defined as any time the canine is deployed and
plays a clear and well-documented role in the capture of a
person. Similarly, DO 12.6 does not define a canine deployment.
We recommend that a canine deployment be defined as an active
search where the canine has an assigned task and is actually used
in the search. The mere presence of the canine at the scene
should not count toward either a deployment or an apprehension.
We understand that all supervisors do not receive formal
standardized training in canine handling procedures. Such
training should be provided not only to supervisors in the canine
unit, but to all supervisors, because both the DOs and SOPs allow
supervisors not assigned to the canine unit to supervise canine
handlers in some situations. In addition, although neither the
DOs nor the SOPs address the role of patrol officers in providing
field support to canine handlers while on active deployment, we
understand that patrol officers perform such duties. However, we
learned that patrol officers are not adequately trained to assist
the canine officers. We learned that patrol officers have broken
the perimeter in which the canine is working, which can lead to
the canine’s confusing the officer’s scent with the scent of the
person he is tracking, and may also put the patrol officer at
risk for bites if he or she follows the natural inclination to
watch the canine instead of look for the subject. We recommend
that patrol officers, as well as supervisors, be trained in backup support for canine handlers.

- 8 ­

Neither the MPD’s canine policy nor its SOPs require
supervisory review of incidents involving canine deployment or
canine apprehensions, although presumably there is some
supervisory review of apprehensions in order for the MPD to
compile statistics for purposes of calculating its canine bite
ratios. Canine bites are reviewed by a supervisor (not
necessarily a canine supervisor), but there is no requirement
that supervisors review canine deployments. We recommend that
all canine deployments and apprehensions be reviewed by a
We learned that the canine sergeant and the Commander of the
Field Support Section review bite ratios, but only on officers
with a bite ratio higher than 30%. We believe that a 30% bite
ratio is a high standard, and that a threshold of 20% and above
should begin to raise concerns. We recommend that officers whose
bite ratios exceed 20% be subject to higher scrutiny. Many major
police departments scrutinize bite ratios over 20% and the MPD
should consider adopting lower thresholds. Moreover, the MPD’s
actual bite ratio may be higher than its numbers indicate given
the possibility, as noted above, that the MPD may be using an
over-inclusive definition of canine apprehensions.
Finally, the MPD does not appear to have a policy governing
canine searches for known juveniles, such as in school buildings.
For several reasons, including the fact that the damage resulting
from a canine bite can be much more severe on a juvenile than on
an adult, the fact that juveniles may not be able to follow the
directions of the canine officers to avoid being bitten, and
because of additional legal safeguards that may be involved in
protecting the rights of minors, we recommend that the MPD
develop such a policy.


Although DO 2.7 (Firearms Procedures) requires officers to
qualify every year with every kind of firearm the MPD allows them
to use, we learned from command staff and officers that the MPD
does not enforce this requirement. We learned that, in practice,
officers can remain qualified for up to eighteen months to two
years before having to requalify. We recommend that officers
qualify to use each and every type of firearm the MPD allows them
to carry at least once a year.

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The Firearms Procedures policy permits officers to carry
personal carbines at work, although it does caution that a
carbine is a “secondary firearm to the Glock pistol and should
not be routinely deployed in most situations,” DO
(Approval of personally owned carbines for on-duty use). The MPD
should reconsider authorizing the use of personal carbines. This
recommendation is based on the fact that carbines, which are
high-velocity military rifles, can be altered easily, and can
also fire many different kinds of projectiles. Moreover, the
City of Miami includes many densely-populated areas where highlypenetrating bullets may hit unintended targets. Prohibiting the
use of carbines would allow the MPD more control over both the
types of weapons, and the ammunition, that MPD officers use. At
a minimum, we recommend that the MPD research and test carbines
and all other weapons which make up its current arsenal to
determine the risk levels associated with such weapons, and the
appropriateness of their use given the City’s urban
characteristics. We recommend that the MPD revise its firearms
policy to allow officers to carry only those specified weapons
and cartridges that have been department-approved for urban
community use.
Under DO (Rules and Regulations, Disciplinary
Action, General Offenses), "unjustified" or "careless" use of a
firearm is listed as a general offense for disciplinary action.
DO However, the DO does not further define these
terms. We recommend that this policy be clarified to include
examples of “unjustified” or “careless” use of a firearm. The
examples should include, among other things, unintentional
discharges of the officer’s weapon when engaged in inappropriate
behavior, such as playing with one’s weapon, and engaging in
pranks involving the weapon.


Following a six month feasibility study, the MPD has decided
to add the M-26 Taser to its arsenal of weapons. We have given
the MPD feedback on the Taser program during the consideration
phase, and repeat here our concerns and recommendations for
strengthening the Taser policy.4

We reviewed the MPD’s Taser policy dated March 2002,
and the revised policy dated December 2002.

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The Taser temporarily incapacitates a subject by
administering a low amperage, high voltage electric shock that
causes an instant loss of neuromuscular control. The Taser
should be regarded as an addition, not an alternative, to OC
spray. The MPD currently requires that only those officers who
are appropriately trained and certified in the use of the Taser
be allowed to carry it. We recommend that the MPD continue this
The Taser policy does not refer to the Taser’s position on a
use of force continuum, although incapacitating techniques, which
presumably would include the Taser, are included on the
"Recommended Use of Force/Levels of Resistance Matrix" just below
deadly force. As we noted earlier, we recommend that the MPD
replace this matrix with an updated use of force continuum, and
that the Taser be included on the continuum. In addition, we
recommend that the MPD change the Taser policy as well to clearly
indicate where the Taser falls on the new continuum.
The Taser policy classifies the Taser as a "less-than lethal
weapon,” DO 2.15.3. The manufacturer uses the description "less
lethal." Given that there have been reports of deaths after
Taser deployment that could not be readily explained by another
cause, such as drug intoxication, changing the description to
"less lethal" would emphasize to MPD officers that the Taser is a
serious use of force. We therefore recommend that the MPD use
the manufacturer’s description of "less lethal."
The Taser policy specifies in DO that "[e]xcessive
or brutal use of the M-26 Taser in subduing a subject is
forbidden." However, the policy does not define or give examples
of these terms. The manufacturer lists situations in which the
Taser should not be used because the potential danger of using it
outweighs the potential benefits. Accordingly, we recommend
that, at a minimum, the MPD not permit the Taser to be used in
any situation where the manufacturer recommends against its use.
For example, we recommend that the MPD adhere to the
manufacturer's recommendation that Taser probes not be fired
intentionally into a subject’s face, by stating so in its policy.
Similarly, the manufacturer's written materials specify that
the use of the Taser on a person who has been sprayed with Saber
Red (the chemical irritant the MPD uses) could cause that person
to catch on fire. Accordingly, the Taser policy should prohibit
officers from using the Taser on subjects who have been recently

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sprayed with Saber Red. We understand that the MPD is
considering rewriting its policy to prohibit use of the Taser on
a person who has been sprayed with Saber Red.
The Taser policy states that "the subject
forewarned that the Taser will be utilized for failure to comply
with verbal commands." DO However, more detailed
multiple warnings that the Taser is about to be fired, and that
an electrical shock will be administered unless the subject
complies, may result in compliance without resorting to the
actual use of the Taser. Absent exigent circumstances, we
recommend that, before firing the Taser, the MPD issue warnings
similar to those we have recommended be given before releasing
In October 2002, Chief Martinez informed us that the MPD
will allow officers who have been issued Tasers to carry them in
their duty belts. We recommend that the MPD monitor this
decision and make appropriate adjustments in the future if
needed, such as requiring officers to carry Tasers in their cars,
in light of the similarity in size and shape between Tasers and
the service weapon.
We learned that the MPD does not photograph the Taser probes
where they attach to a person’s body after an officer deploys a
Taser. A photographic record protects the officer in case a
dispute arises later, and also tracks the accuracy of the Taser
and the officers firing them. We recommend that, where
practicable, the MPD photograph the location(s) where the
probe(s) hit, both before and after the probes are removed.
These photographs, along with the computer printouts from the
fired Taser, should be part of the investigation done by a
supervisor on every Taser discharge.
Although DO requires Taser probes to be removed
by Fire Rescue personnel, we understand the MPD is considering a
change in policy to allow officers to remove the probes.5 We
believe, to protect the officer both from liability in case the
subject is injured by removal of the probes, and from possible
infection from body fluids, that probes should be removed from a
Memorandum from Kathleen Schrank, MD, Miami Fire
Rescue EMS Medical Director, to Sgt. Richard Gentry, dated
July 28, 2002, recommending that the MPD train its officers to
remove probes on scenes of most incidents.

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person's body only by medical personnel.
The Taser policy in DO also requires supervisors to
periodically inspect each officer’s Taser and determine the
number of times it has been deployed since the last inspection.
As a further safeguard, a fixed time period should be established
for regular supervisor inspections of all Tasers. Additionally,
consideration should be given to having the Inspections Unit
conduct random inspections of the Taser and random audits of the
supervisors' inspections.
Finally, the Taser policy does not require supervisors to
investigate a Taser deployment as a use of force where the Taser
is the only force used. We recommend that this policy be changed
to require that supervisors be required to investigate all Taser
deployments as uses of force.

Use of Force Reporting

The MPD uses a different form for reporting each type of
force officers use (e.g., Taser, Canine, O.C. spray, and Control
of Persons (use of physical force)). A single form for reporting
all uses of force would aid the MPD in investigating and
reviewing uses of force, and allow the MPD to track and evaluate
uses of force more accurately and thoroughly. We recommend that
the MPD develop a single uniform use of force report that
identifies each type of force that was used, and requires the
evaluation of each use of force. The MPD has given us a working
draft of a uniform use of force reporting form. We look forward
to seeing the completed product and renew our offer to review it
before it is implemented.
We are also concerned that the MPD’s policies on reporting
use of force are likely to lead to an under-reporting of the use
of force. For example, according to DO (Drawing
Firearms), the MPD does not require officers to report instances
when they draw and point a firearm at, or in the direction of,
another person, but do not shoot. This kind of use of a firearm,
as opposed to merely unholstering a weapon, should be reported
and evaluated as a means of obtaining important risk management
With respect to reporting firearms discharges, DO, Discharge of Firearms Restrictions, Report of Use,
requires officers to make a verbal report "as soon as

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circumstances will permit," and to file a written report "as soon
as practical thereafter." We have learned from command staff and
officers that, after a discharge of firearm event, officers
sometimes avoid talking to any supervisor at all until days after
the event. We believe that the lapses in time that DO permits could seriously undermine investigators’
efforts to gather facts and evidence about police-involved
shootings fully and quickly, such as witness information,
information about the geographical boundaries of the event, and
available evidence. We recommend that the MPD require officers
to notify their supervisors immediately after any gun discharge
incident, and also require officers to complete a brief written
report no later than the end of the officer’s or supervisor’s
tour of duty.
We also discovered weaknesses in the policy governing the
supervisor’s role in investigating uses of force. As currently
written, DO, which governs when a supervisor’s
narrative is required on a Control of Persons report, requires
sergeants to investigate uses of force "under normal
circumstances." We believe this standard does not give sergeants
adequate guidance in determining when a report must be written.
We recommend that the policy be rewritten to require that
supervisors investigate each use of force, with the exception of
those under review by Internal Affairs and Homicide. We
recommend that the MPD amend its use of force reporting policy to
require that all uses of force beyond verbal commands and "soft
hands" be reported.
Finally, current MPD policy does not require injury to
prisoner reports to be written in all circumstances, but only
where an officer uses force and "there is a complaint of injury
and the injury is visible," DO This can lead to underreporting of uses of force, and therefore we recommend that
officers write reports whenever there is a complaint of an injury
to a prisoner, whether incurred before or during the police
encounter, and regardless of the severity of the injury or
whether the injury is visible.
We have also learned of deficiencies in procedures governing
the tracking of Control of Persons (use of force) reports.
Internal Affairs is charged with investigating all Control of
Persons reports. However, we learned that some Control of
Persons reports were not getting forwarded to Internal Affairs.
While supervisors were logging in Control of Persons incidents,

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there was no follow-up to make sure that relevant reports were
actually forwarded to Internal Affairs. We learned the MPD has
instituted a new policy requiring sergeants to log the incident
to maintain the chain of custody of the reports. Internal
Affairs then collects the logs and tracks whether all relevant
Control of Persons reports are being forwarded, and which ones
they have not received. We support this change.

Vehicle Pursuit Driving Policy

The Vehicle Pursuit Driving policy in DO permits
roadblocks. Most cities do not allow roadblocks, but rather use
tire-puncturing devices, because cars hitting roadblocks can and
do result often in fatalities. We recommend that the MPD
prohibit roadblocks for this reason.
The DO’s language on limiting pursuits in bad weather is
good, but should be expanded to include other factors that can
effect the dangerousness of a pursuit, like time of day,
proximity to a school zone, number of pedestrians, traffic
volume, etc. Similarly, the requirement to cut off pursuit when
an officer thinks there is clear and unreasonable danger is too
vague and fails to provide adequate guidance about what
constitutes a danger. We recommend that the MPD follow the trend
in most police departments by setting a reasonable restriction on
the speed for continuing a vehicle pursuit, and add this specific
limitation to the DO.
The MPD does not have a foot pursuit policy. To protect the
safety of officers and citizens, the MPD should develop and adopt
a foot pursuit policy. The policy should require officers to
consider particular factors in determining whether a foot pursuit
is appropriate. These factors should include, inter alia, the
alleged offense committed by the subject, whether the subject is
armed, the location (i.e., lighting, officer familiarity), and
the ability to apprehend the subject at a later date. The policy
should also include alternatives to foot pursuits, including area
containment, surveillance, and obtaining reinforcements. A foot
pursuit policy should be made a discrete and separate DO.

Search and Seizure

We did not find, either in the DOs or the SOPs, a policy or
procedure governing the permissible circumstances under which
officers can detain a person on a street stop. Indeed, we

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observed officers making coercive stops in crime suppression
sweeps without it being clear to us that those stops were based
on reasonable suspicion that a crime had been or was about to be
committed. The absence of a clear policy limiting officers’
discretion in effecting street stops increases the chances that
officers will go beyond the legal bounds of reasonable suspicion.
Accordingly, we recommend that the MPD create a policy on street
The DOs currently do not require a supervisor to review
officers’ arrest reports. We recommend that supervisors review
all arrest reports, with particular emphasis on charges of
resisting arrest, interference with official duty, and assault on
a police officer. This is a valuable tool to deter use of
excessive force by officers, and to spot problems with
sufficiency of probable cause.

External Complaints

According to MPD policy, the Internal Affairs Section has
the primary authority for accepting, coordinating, and tracking
the investigation of external complaints. The DO manual,
however, does not specify whether there is any external entity
that oversees Internal Affairs investigations. Based on our
interviews, we have learned that the Office of Professional
Compliance (OPC), currently a unit under the Office of the City
Manager, reviews a limited number of closed Internal Affairs
investigations involving excessive force, abusiveness, and
discharges of firearms for purpose of reviewing the adequacy of
the investigation. The OPC can make recommendations to Internal
Affairs to reopen an investigation, but we learned from our
interviews that that rarely happens. Internal Affairs has the
final say on whether an investigation stays closed or is reopened.
The Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP), approved by Miami
voters in November 2001, will apparently have the authority to
oversee Internal Affairs investigations and to subpoena witnesses
under the direction of the State Attorney’s Office.6 An adequate
external complaint process is a crucial oversight mechanism and
an important deterrent of misconduct.

We understand that, as of January 24, 2003, nine of the
thirteen members of the CIP had been selected.

- 16 ­


Publicity of the citizen complaint process

It is equally important that the public have access to
information regarding the citizen complaint process, and that
there be public trust in the integrity of the process. The
policies do not address how the MPD provides information to
citizens about its complaint process. In response to our
document request, however, the MPD provided an information sheet
titled “City of Miami Police Department: The Complaint
Investigation Process." This sheet describes the complaint
process, provides contact information, and outlines five possible
complaint dispositions.
Our interviews with community group leaders revealed
sentiments that the MPD’s citizen complaint process is generally
unknown or believed to be ineffective, and that materials
describing the complaint process are not generally available. In
particular, the City’s Community Relations Board was unaware of
materials that outlined the MPD’s citizen complaint process.
We recommend that the MPD better disseminate information to
the public about the citizen complaint process and ensure that
effective communication with community groups takes place in
order to foster greater confidence in the process. We recommend
that each Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET) station have
information about the complaint process posted in a visible place
in the public reception area. Each officer while on duty should
also carry informative materials in their vehicles to be made
available to members of the public that they come in contact with
upon their request. In addition, this information should be
readily available in City buildings, such as City Hall, and to
various community groups throughout the City. Finally, the MPD
should consider posting this information on-line in addition to
the MPD Citizen Complaint telephone number that the City’s
website currently provides.
We understand the MPD plans to transfer the Internal Affairs
Section to a location outside of Headquarters. We support this
decision. We look forward to this and other improvements to the
complaint process, including the efforts the MPD is currently
making to solicit citizen feedback through the recently modified
Satisfaction Survey it distributed.

Intake and tracking of external complaints

- 17 ­

We have learned of several MPD policies and practices that
appear to discourage the filing of complaints. For example, the
Internal Affairs SOP governing the duties and responsibilities of
the Unit Commander in reviewing Control of Persons reports
requires an Internal Affairs investigation to be opened when,
among other criteria, the "arrestee insists on filing a
complaint" (emphasis added). This language suggests that an
arrestee might expect to meet resistance from the MPD in filing a
complaint. In addition, while DO cites the refusal
to give one’s name, I.B.M. number, or to display one’s
identification card when requested as grounds for discipline, the
MPD does not have a policy requiring officers to visibly display
their name when interacting with the public. Difficulty in
identifying the officer a person wishes to complain about could
discourage the filing of complaints. In addition, some persons
reported that they were not interviewed when they appeared in
person to make a complaint, and others who were interviewed
reported that the MPD reportedly engages in questioning
techniques that are aimed more at discrediting the complainant
rather than fact-finding. Finally, we understand that the MPD
does not accept anonymous or third party complaints.
Under current MPD policy (Internal Affairs Section,
Responsibilities, DO 2.1.3), Internal Affairs is responsible for
accepting complaints against department employees regarding
allegations of misconduct or unlawful activity. According to DO (Internal Investigations, Procedures), Internal Affairs
assigns complaints involving “harassment, improper demeanor, and
minor infractions, such as discourtesy” to the unit commander or
designee. According to Internal Affairs SOP 5, Internal Affairs
retains for investigation all complaints involving corruption,
criminal activity, misconduct, excessive force, abusive
treatment, employee substance abuse, and sexual harassment.
The policy requiring that certain types of complaints be handled
by the unit commanders or designees also requires that unit
commanders or their designee ensure that a “complete and
expeditious investigation” takes place (DO However,
according to officers we have talked to, this process has
resulted in delays in resolving complaints.
The policies are also unclear about the responsibility of
all MPD employees to accept citizen complaints. While DO 2.2.3
(Internal Investigations, Responsibilities) states that “each
member of the Department shall perform the duties and assume the
obligations of their rank in the reporting and investigation of

- 18 ­

complaints or allegations of misconduct against members of the
Department," it does not describe what the role of each member is
to accept and process citizen complaints.
With respect to tracking of complaints, we noticed in our
review of the Internal Affairs SOP 6 that there is a category of
findings after investigation of complaints called "Information,"
where "the complaint alleged has been filed but cannot proceed.
Case can be reopened at a future date when new or additional
information is received." We understand that complaints against
officers where the complainant does not pursue the complaint fall
into this category. Further, we understand that the OPC does not
independently track the complaints it receives. Instead, when a
citizen calls the OPC to make a complaint against a member of the
MPD, the OPC takes the complainant’s information and forwards it
to the Internal Affairs Section.
We recommend that the MPD review its policies and procedures
and rewrite those policies that could tend to discourage filing
of citizen complaints. The MPD should change the aspects of its
citizen complaint process that have the potential to discourage
the filing of complaints or to limit the kinds of complaints
accepted or the sources from which complaints will be accepted.
The MPD should adopt a policy that explicitly prohibits any
conduct that would tend to discourage a citizen from making a
complaint, and discipline officers for violating the policy. We
also recommend that the MPD write a specific Departmental Order
clarifying all employees’ roles in accepting and investigating
We further recommend that all complaints against officers be
investigated to the extent possible, regardless of the source of
the complaint or the reluctance of the complainant. We also
recommend that the MPD accept and investigate to the extent
possible anonymous and third party complaints to address those
situations where complainant may have legitimate reasons for not
wanting to come forward personally.
In our meeting with Internal Affairs in November 2002, we
learned that the MPD was in the process of computerizing the
complaint process so that complaints can be tracked and resolved
more efficiently. We commend the MPD for this measure, look
forward to seeing it implemented, and also recommend that the
City ensure that adequate tracking of complaints received by

- 19 ­

agencies outside the MPD occurs.

Early Warning System (EWS)

Through our discussions with command staff and officers, it
is clear that the MPD recognizes that its EWS needs to be
improved, and we understand that significant changes to the EWS
are contemplated. We learned that the MPD is considering a
change in the combination of triggers to allow the EWS to
identify an officer who has five incidents in any combination of
the four categories over two years, and is also considering
lowering the number of firearms discharges as well. We also
learned that the MPD has hired an intelligence specialist to
assist in the development of information management for the new
EWS. We believe these are positive developments.
As we previously discussed with Chief Martinez in our exit
interviews, we discovered several weaknesses in DO 2.8 governing
the Early Warning System (EWS). According to DO 2.8 and the
Internal Affairs SOPs as currently written, the EWS identifies
officers when they have five complaints of the same type in two
years7 in any one of four categories: substantiated or
inconclusive complaints; Control of Persons incidents;
reprimands; and firearms discharges. Accordingly, an officer
could conceivably have four incidents in each category for the
two-year period and not trigger the early warning system.
We believe that the types of incidents that trigger the
MPD’s EWS are too narrow, and that the time period is too short
to give supervisors valuable information that, if received early,
could identify potential problem officers before misconduct
actually develops. For this reason, we encourage the MPD to
continue refining the EWS to include capturing all significant
behavior issues, violations of policies and laws, and liability
issues, and should also consider lengthening the two year time
period. For example, in our meetings with MPD staff we have
suggested including personnel information, civil lawsuits,
vehicle pursuits, and arrest patterns, among other things, as
examples of appropriate categories for an early warning systems.
The MPD should also consider linking its databases, including the
The exception is canine bites, which trigger the EWS if
an officer has five bites or more in one year, and firearms
discharges, which trigger the EWS if an officer has three
discharges within five years.

- 20 ­

personnel and arrest databases, so that all information that
could be useful to supervisors in detecting an early pattern of
potentially problematic behavior is easily available.
We recommend that the MPD train all supervisors on the new
EWS, including training on how to address trends spotted with
officers, and create more informal ways of addressing the trends
spotted than the list of options contained in DO (Early
Warning System, Recommendation), which could appear punitive to
both officers and supervisors. Optimally, the information
obtained through supervisory review of an officer’s conduct
should result, where appropriate and necessary, in nondisciplinary intervention, which could include discussion,
counseling, training, and action plans designed to improve


In general, training at the MPD is decentralized, with many
of the units, such as Field Training Officers (FTOs), canine,
marine patrol, and SWAT doing their own training without the
input or oversight of the training division. There is also no
link between academy training and FTO training. In addition, we
learned that, often, roll-call training is done without the input
of the training division, and that command staff does not audit
training. According to DO, the Training Committee, the
role of which is to assist in developing training for the MPD,
meets only on an "as needed" basis, and includes only upper
management and representatives from the law department and the
Centralized, coordinated training would allow for more
consistency and allow officers’ progress to be tracked more
closely as they move through the ranks and through the different
units. We recommend that training be approved by and coordinated
through the training division. We recommend that the Training
Committee be expanded to include representatives from all levels
of the organization, and that command staff audit training
periodically, with the monitoring effort being distributed
throughout command levels. These measures will address concerns
that MPD management is not sufficiently cognizant of what occurs
in officer training.
While the officer survival training we attended in September

- 21 ­

was for the most part very well done, we did have some specific
concerns. First, as we mentioned previously, the use of force
matrix the MPD uses is outdated and is not tailored to the
specific types of force MPD officers are authorized to use.
Officers should be taught de-escalation and regrouping techniques
in addition to tactics, to encourage them to assess every
situation to determine if continued action on their part is the
most advisable course. In addition, we observed during survival
training some deficiencies in how officers were being trained on
the new deadly force policy. For example, we witnessed a
situation in which officers suggested that they need not follow
the new policy, and were not corrected by the training staff. We
also observed that training staff emphasized that the decision to
use deadly force was dependent on the officer’s perception of an
immediate threat, without concurrently emphasizing that the
perception must be objectively reasonable. Our recommendations
for improving survival training include: greater emphasis on the
requirement that the decision to use deadly force must be
objectively reasonable; more forceful response from trainers to
inappropriate or inaccurate comments from training participants
on the meaning of the new policy; and increased emphasis on the
current state of the law on officers’ use of deadly force.
Additionally, in our conversations with officers and
supervisors, we learned of concerns about encounters with persons
who have mental illness or are homeless. According to officers
and supervisors we talked to, only about 70 officers have
received crisis intervention training, and trained officers are
not always available to respond when needed. We recommend that
the MPD significantly increase the number of Crisis Intervention
Team (CIT) officers.
Finally, we understand that a separate training for new
sergeants, covering supervisory responsibilities, has been
developed recently. Our recommendation is to include all current
sergeants, in addition to new sergeants, in this training.

Structure and Organization of Departmental Orders

In general, we found that while the DOs cover a
comprehensive range of topics, they are poorly organized. For
example, policies governing the use of force are found in several
different places throughout the DOs: the main policy is in DO
2.6 (Use of Force), but important parts of the policy are found

- 22 ­

elsewhere, including in DO (Firearms and Weapons), in
DO (Arrests-Unnecessary Force), in DO
(Less Lethal Weapons), in DO (Prisoners), and in DO (Code of Ethics). Requiring officers to look up
important policies in several different areas of the manual makes
it less likely that officers will identify and learn the entire
policy. In addition, some policies are not contained within the
most relevant subject matter area. For example, DO 2.5 (Arrest
Procedures) and DO 2.7 (Firearms Procedures) are placed under DO
2 (Internal Affairs) which covers the investigative process,
rather than under DO 11 (Patrol) which covers field operations
and procedures.
A well-organized and clearly-written policies and procedures
manual allows officers to quickly find the parameters by which
the entire organization operates. The ability to find a complete
policy quickly is especially important for those policies that
officers would be expected to refer to often, including use of
force, incident reporting, and arrest procedures. Currently, all
of these policies are scattered throughout the DO manual. We
recommend that the MPD reorganize the DOs so that an entire
policy is found in one place.
In addition, the rules of conduct, which are the list of
specific prohibitions that cannot be violated and the affirmative
requirements that officers must follow, also are not contained
within one area in the manual. We recommend that the MPD arrange
the rules of conduct in a separate section of the DO manual, so
that officers can quickly find and more easily familiarize
themselves with the MPD’s requirements for officer conduct.
A second area of concern with the DO manual is that use of
force policies that appear to be no longer in effect remain in
the manual. Currently, the Leg Restraint Policy, DO 2.13.5,
states that “ prohibited except as a last resort to
restrain a subject." However, according to the officer survival
training staff and other MPD personnel, hogtying is in fact no
longer taught by the MPD, and training officers we talked to
believe that the technique is no longer permitted. Increasingly,
hogtying is being prohibited in police departments because it is
a dangerous practice that puts prisoners at risk of death from
positional asphyxia. Accordingly, we recommend that the MPD
prohibit hogtying and remove references to hogtying from its
policies. We make a similar recommendation with respect to the
PR-24 baton, which is referred to in the DOs but which we

- 23 ­

understand has been replaced by the ASP (expandable) baton. In
general, we recommend that the MPD thoroughly review the DOs for
content, and remove any DOs that are no longer in effect.
Third, the MPD needs to ensure that each officer receives,
reads, and understands the policies and procedures. Despite a
requirement that officers carry a copy of the DOs in their
cruiser, which we discovered in a line inspection report provided
to us by the Inspections Unit, several officers reported having
never seen the DOs. There is no formal mechanism that we are
aware of to ensure that officers receive the manual or learn the
policies. We learned that the MPD does not supply officers with
a copy of the Patrol SOPs, and were told that officers
familiarize themselves with the DOs only when they are due for
promotion. Accordingly, we recommend that the MPD supply each
officer with a copy of the DOs, provide training on their content
if this is not already being done at the police academy, and
conduct inspections to make sure that officers understand the
policies, procedures and rules of conduct, including all policy
updates and revisions. We have learned that the MPD plans to
increase access to the DOs and SOPs by placing them on the
computer system hard-drive, where they will be accessible to
officers in each NET office and substation.
Fourth, many of the MPD’s policies are not contained in the
DOs, but are contained in the SOPs for the individual units.
This results in important departmental policies being accessible
only to officers who work in a particular unit. For example, the
canine SOPs contain important information about warnings that
must be given to suspects before a canine is released. Failure
to give these warnings implicates the Fourth Amendment. It is
therefore important for all officers, not just canine officers,
to know the constitutional standards for issuing warnings before
a canine is released, especially since patrol officers are
responsible for maintaining the outer perimeter at canine
General orders, those that all officers in all divisions
must follow, should be in the DOs. Any general order that
appears in the SOPs should also contain a reference to where in
the DOs the policy can be found. We recommend that the MPD
undertake a complete review of all SOPs, and make sure that all
policy directives, especially those governing use of force, are
placed in the DOs as well as in the SOPs.

- 24 ­


Other Concerns

From talking with command staff and officers, we learned
that the Inspections Unit has focused almost exclusively in 2002
on the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies,
Inc. (CALEA) recertification. As a result, the Inspections Unit
has not been performing the staff inspections it is required to
perform pursuant to the Departmental Order 1.5. According to
reports we received from the MPD staff, random drug testing of
officers has not been done for at least six months, and possibly
one year, due to problems with the vendor laboratory. Our
consultants recommended to the Chief on September 27, 2002 that
the practice should be reinstated. In addition, our consultants
recommended that drug testing be made mandatory for officers
entering the narcotics unit.
We are concerned about the handcuffing procedures for
misdemeanants outlined in DO, which allows officers
to decide on a case-by-case basis whether they should handcuff a
misdemeanor suspect. We recommend that all misdemeanant
arrestees who are going to be transported be handcuffed, as a
matter of officer safety.




Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any
questions about the recommendations contained in this letter.
We appreciate the cooperation we have received from City and MPD
officials and look forward to working with you and the MPD in the
coming months as our investigation proceeds.

/s/ Steven H. Rosenbaum

Steven H. Rosenbaum
Special Litigation Section
cc:	 Mr. George Wysong
Assistant City Attorney