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Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation to Protect Florida’s Law Enforcement Officers

Earlier today, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a press conference to announce his signature of legislation involving the protection of law enforcement officers. Below is an official statement from Gov. DeSantis’ office:

Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation to increase penalties for those who harass officers in the course of their duty and legislation to prohibit localities from using political entities like Civilian Oversight Boards to drive an anti-police agenda.

“I am proud to support the men and women of law enforcement throughout the state,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today’s legislation will ensure law enforcement can do their jobs without the threat of harassment. While blue states vilify and defund the police, Florida will continue to be the friendliest state in the nation towards our law enforcement community.”

“In Florida under Governor DeSantis, first responders and police officers are supported and respected,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass. “Today’s legislation protects the rights of law enforcement officers and ensures they can remain safe on the job.”

“With the signing of the ‘Halo’ bill, the Governor and Legislature are letting every law enforcement officer and first responder in the state know that we not only stand with them, but will continue to do whatever we must to protect and serve them, as they protect and serve us,” said State Representative Alex Rizo.

“Florida has worked hard since 2018 to be the most law enforcement-friendly state in the nation,” said State Representative Wyman Duggan. “We are no longer going to allow a civilian oversight/review process to be a vehicle for the persecution of individual officers. I thank the Governor and the Speaker for their support of this legislation and am honored to have worked on it with the State Fraternal Order of Police under President Steve Zona’s leadership.”

Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 184 and HB 601 into law.

See also  Integrity Florida Calling for Probe of State CFO Investigation of Dental Practice Arrests

SB 184 does the following:

  • Prohibits the harassment of a police officer or first responder who is actively doing his or her job.
  • This law pertains to any person who has received a verbal warning not to approach an officer and who approaches with the intent to interfere with their official duties, threaten with physical harm, or harass the officer.
  • Under this bill, an individual who harasses a law enforcement officer in the line of duty will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.

HB 601 does the following:

  • Prevents anti-police activists from carrying out extrajudicial investigations against law enforcement.
  • Codifies the creation of “Civilian Oversight Boards” to ensure they are directed by a county sheriff or chief of police and are comprised of at least three to seven members, all of whom are appointed by the sheriff or chief of police.
  • At least one member must be a retired law enforcement officer.
  • Ensures that misconduct allegations will be investigated by those properly trained and equipped to handle such investigations, such as Internal Affairs Departments or the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC).
  • Increases all county sheriffs’ base salaries by $5,000 for each population group.

Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has signed numerous pieces of legislation to support and protect law enforcement, and that includes police K9s. Governor DeSantis has signed police K9 legislation into law to do the following:

  • Ensure that the caregivers of retired police dogs can receive a stipend for veterinary bills.
    • Under this program, 86 retired police K9s have found good homes and received veterinary care at no cost to the owner.
  • Provide emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances, to transport police K9s injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic to ensure they quickly get the care need.
  • Increase penalties on those who harass, injure, or kill a K9.
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