DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and half a dozen other law enforcement leaders from other parts of the US are scheduled to meet today with US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan today in his native Wisconsin to discuss "de-escalation training" as part of law enforcement, according to a story in the Daytona Beach News-Journal and several Orlando TV stations.
Headline Surfer was not notified of Chitwood's plans, a continuation of the new sheriff's exclusion policy against the internet news outlet, claiming he doesn't have to because from his point of view Headline Surfer is "not a member of the mainstream media" and continues to "publish lies, half truths and false stories." When asked to cite examples of his claims, Chitwood did not respond.
But the sheriff said he will also take the opportunity to ask the federal government for money for school resource officers, according to the News-Journal. The print newspaper reported Chitwood and other police chiefs will meet with Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in Janesville, citing sheriff's spokesman Andrew Gant as the source for the story.
De-escalation training provides officers the opportunity to learn to take a tactical pause, not to go rushing into situations where an armed persons are only a dangers to themselves. It is basically learning to create a calming effect so that officers can go home safely and the bad guy can go to jail safely, Chitwood said, according to the News-Journal, which quoted Chitwood as follows: "This is all about changing the culture of policing. Since 9/11 we changed from a guardian of policing to a warrior style of policing and the community feels that we need to go back to being guardians of policing."
Translation? Chitwood has stated in situations where deadly force is an option, he's prefer his deputies go home at the end of the day and the "bad guys go safely to jail.
The News-Journal reported that in one-on-one meetings with Ryan, law enforcement officials will lobby for funding from Congress for de-escalation training, but Chitwood said he will also take the opportunity to ask for federal money to put back school resource officers in Volusia schools."I will be asking for Volusia County and ask him (Ryan) if they would help us with money," Chitwood told the News-Journal.
In reporting news to the public where a law enforcement agency has singled out a media outlet for exclusion, all the media outlet can do is try to report the news through secondary sources, including repeating what other news outlets were given in way of information. Ultimately, the aggrieved media outlet could file a lawsuit,but the process is tedious and expensive and difficult to find a lawyer willing to take it upon contingency.
Volusia County officials have been publicly silent on Chitwood's treatment of Headline Surfer. Among the actions taken by the Volusia County Sheriff's office since Chitwood was sworn in on Jan. 3 against Headline Surfer:
• Removed Headline Surfer from its media email alert in which press releases, incident and arrest reports are pro-actively sent out;
• Prevented entrance to Chitwood's first press conference, even though the internet news outlet had been invited to it just days before Chitwood took office;
• The PIO office under the sheriff has not answered calls made by the internet news outlet nor returned voice mail messages.
• Headline Surfer was among 17 media outlets listed on the VCSO website, but has been removed since Chitwood's swearing-in ceremony.
Chitwood has held a personal grudge against Headline Surfer since 2012, when he cut off communications with the interview news outlet after it received two awards from the Florida Press Club for an in-depth story on Chitwood's promotion of a patrol supervisor to captain despite a lengthy history of alleged ill-treatment of lesbian cops under his command . And though Chitwood was ordered by Daytona Beach City Manager Jim Chisholm to add Headline Surfer back to DBPD's emil media alerts, Chitwood found other ways to exclude Headline Surfer, which was never notified of a single press conference he held from that point forward.