Over the past decade, more than a dozen police officers and members of the anti-government movement have died nationwide in gun battles.“That’s why every Orange County deputy is trained in recognizing sovereign citizens,” said Deputy Chief Brett Meade of the University of Central Florida Police Department. “From a law-enforcement perspective we have to treat every sovereign the same because we don’t know their level of commitment. … It’s an officer safety issue.”Meade helped design the training program when he headed the sheriff’s Intelligence Unit that investigates hate and organized crime groups. The training program is credited with the recent response by deputies that may have saved their lives during the shootout with Paffen.At about 5 p.m. on Feb. 8, Paffen’s ex-girlfriend called 911 saying he had violated a protection order by demanding to see her outside the supermarket.The woman identified Paffen as well-armed and violent, according to records and interviews. When Paffen’s name was entered into the agency’s computer system, it responded with a warning that he belonged to the violent sovereign citizen movement, according to interviews with the sheriff’s office.
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