“It will take us another 3 or 4 weeks to go through each of these recommendations individually to decide which ones we're going to implement and which ones we won't,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw back in March.
The Sheriff addressed the media after an outside firm known as the Police Executive Research Forum or "PERF" spent months reviewing the agency’s internal affairs department. In the end, PERF recommended 70 ways the agency could improve how it handles internal investigations, including deputy-involved shootings.
In a string of emails back and forth over the past month, the Contact 5 Investigators have been asking PBSO for records pertaining to the adoption or implementation of any PERF recommendations.
PBSO’s response, "our team is still processing the PERF report."
The $100,000 taxpayer funded report followed our exclusive Line of Fire series with The Palm Post last year.
Our joint investigation found PBSO’s investigations into deputy shootings are often skewed from the start, in favor of the deputy.
Take the 2010 shooting of then- 17-year-old Jeremy Hutton who has Down Syndrome.
Internally, the shooting passed policy. The deputy involved claimed he shot Hutton because the teen was driving towards him. But, street video showed just the opposite, the teen driving away.
One of PERF’s recommendations to PBSO was to implement a policy that prohibits deputies from shooting at moving cars.
Other recommendations included that any use of force incident should be investigated, regardless of whether the person was killed or injured. Also, PERF suggested that PBSO state if deputies see a fellow deputy use unnecessary force, they should have a duty to intervene.
“Most of their suggestions we’re already doing, it’s just put it in writing, put it in policy which will make our policies better,” said Sheriff Bradshaw in March.
Since our Line of Fire series, PBSO deputy-involved shootings have gone down dramatically, from 9 in 2014 to just one so far this year.
If the taxpayer funded PERF report had anything to do with it remains unknown. 3 months after the Sheriff released its findings, his team is “still processing it.”
Wednesday morning, in response to our questions, a PBSO spokesperson said, “today, I am told that one of the recommendations has been signed off on for immediate implementation.”
The Contact 5 Investigators are still waiting for details on which recommendation the agency has adopted.