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Study: Three Percent Of Police Officers In Florida Previously Fired By Another Department


As a society, we empower and trust the police to protect and severe. Unfortunately, police officers and law enforcement agencies do not always uphold that trust. Police brutality remains a serious problem. Police officers who violate the rights of citizens must be held accountable. A recent study published in the Yale Law Journal finds that police officers who have been held accountable for misconduct (fired) often end up on another police force. Here, our Orlando civil rights attorney provides an overview of the findings and explains the alarming implications for police brutality. 

The Wandering Officer: Cops Fired By One Department May End Up at Another

Published in the Yale Law Journal, a study called The Wandering Officer puts the focus on a serious issue in our country: Police officers fired by one department frequently end up working for another one. The researchers conducted a comprehensive study of 98,000 police officers working across 500 different law enforcement departments all within the State of Florida over a more than three decades period. Here was the core conclusion from the data analysis:

  • An average of three percent of police officers working at the state or local level in Florida have previously been fired by another agency, often for serious misconduct.

Alarmingly, that misconduct sometimes includes very serious violations of the civil rights of citizens, including excessive force and police brutality. As activists have long argued, it can be difficult to get a law enforcement agency to take action against an officer accused of police brutality. It is concerning that an officer that is fired for excessive force could quickly end up working for another department.

Florida Finally has a Database for Police Brutality—But Major Gaps Remain 

In 2022, Florida finally unveiled its state-run Officer’s Discipline Database. The database is designed to bring greater public accountability to policing by giving people access to officer discipline records, including for police brutality cases. The creation of such a database is an important step. It was created, in part, to help stop police officers from being shifted from one district to another.

However, there are major gaps remaining in the Florida Officer’s Discipline Database. As it currently stands, the database does not track or publish citizen complaints. In other words, only officers who have been convicted of a crime or punished for a serious professional violation by their department will show any records in the database. 

Contact Our Florida Police Brutality Lawyer Today

At The Baez Law Firm, our Florida civil rights lawyer has the professional skills and legal expertise to handle complex excessive force cases. If you or your family member was injured due to police brutality, we are here to protect your rights and help you fight for justice. Contact us today to set up a free, strictly confidential initial consultation. With law offices in Orlando and Miami, we are positioned to provide civil rights representation throughout the State of Florida.


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