A Message to the Pensacola Community from Mayor Grover Robinson
Since the senseless murder of George Floyd, we have seen outrage throughout our nation and here in our city. We have heard demands for change and equality for all. To our communities of color in Pensacola and the hundreds of allies who have spent countless hours this week protesting and calling for justice and equality: I see you. I hear you. I value and respect you.
As your mayor, I am committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and safe community for all. There is no place for racism or discrimination in the City of Pensacola. We are incredibly fortunate to have a police department that is committed to the same values.
I have reviewed the Pensacola Police Department’s policies and procedures this week with Chief Tommi Lyter,and the following policies are in place:
• The Pensacola Police Department’s policy states that any member who witnesses an excessive use of force incident has a duty to immediately intervene and protect the person who is the subject of the excessive use of force. The intervening member shall immediately report the incident to a supervisor.
• It is the policy of the Pensacola Police Department that sworn members of the department shall not use more force than is reasonably necessary to accomplish a lawful purpose. Unnecessary and/or excessive use of force is expressly prohibited.
• The Pensacola Police Department requires comprehensive reporting. All use of force incidents are tracked, along with every traffic stop and the race of the individual who was stopped. Officers with a high rate of traffic stops for one race are automatically agged and reviewed.
• PPD’s de-escalation policy states that once a sworn member achieves control or compliance, he or she must de-escalate the use of force.
• Per PPD policy, a verbal warning should be given where feasible to do so before using deadly force. Where there is reasonable doubt, the value of a human life outweighs the importance of immediate apprehension.
Mayor Grover Robinson • PPD policy states that shooting at or from a moving vehicle is generally a dangerous and ineffective practice which shall be refrained from in all instances except those which do not endanger innocent persons and are justified by unusual or mitigating circumstances.
The Pensacola Police Department is a state accredited agency, maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and best practices. They are committed to serving and protecting our community with courtesy, integrity and professionalism.
In addition to our existing policies, we are taking the following actions:
• Dr. Cedric Alexander began implicit/explicit bias training and leadership training in January for all sworn members of the Pensacola Police Department. PPD will continue to participate in regular bias-based training.
• Additional use of force training is being conducted in the coming weeks for every sworn member of the Pensacola Police Department.
• The City of Pensacola has engaged Dr. Cedric Alexander to work with the city to create a citizens committee to establish a working partnership with the Pensacola Police Department.
I am incredibly proud of the way citizens of Pensacola have come together peacefully to let their voices be heard, and of the men and women of the Pensacola Police Department who have respected their right to protest. The protests in Pensacola have been a beautiful tribute to George Floyd and a testament to the humanity we all share.
I have always believed that we are at our best when we all work together and celebrate our differences.
We will continue to look for ways we can improve as a city. It is up to each one of us to take steps to better ourselves and our community, and to work together to end racism once and for all.
It is an honor to serve the citizens of Pensacola, and I am here to listen and learn from each one of you.
Mayor Grover C. Robinson, IV