Tampa Mayor Jane Castor held a news conference Friday morning on policy changes to the police department. Watch the video clip below.
“It’s clear from the days of protest, unrest, grief and rage that it is an important time in our history and for law enforcement,” Castor said. “The Tampa Police Department will adapt as community standards and expectations change.”
Castor said it is important to implement change and has crafted three initiatives to make such changes.
Castor said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will now lead the investigations for all officer-involved shootings, effective immediately.
“This will ensure a thorough and impartial investigation to determine if the law was followed during any use of force,” she said. “This step will safeguard the accountability, transparency and objectivity of those investigations.”
The second initiative is to modify two policies currently in place at TPD, first “requires officers to intervene if they witness an officer using excessive force.”
The change will now make it clear in the policy’s writing, she said.
Additionally, Castor said the department banned the use of a chokehold over 30 years ago, but it will now be spelled out.
The final initiative is to create the Mayor’s Community Task Force on Policing in order to receive direct feedback from residents.
“It will create an opportunity for open two-way communication between officers and community members,” she said.
The task force will have around 40 members from the community and police department. The group will meet on June 27 and July 18, and will schedule “additional meetings until we reach a consensus on how to move forward together.”
Castor said the group will look at “national best practices in policing and then review TPD’s policies and procedures to identify what is being done well and what needs to be changed.”