After a unanimous vote from the Florida Senate and House of Representatives in April, HB 7051 (otherwise known as the Police Reform Bill), was signed into law Tuesday by Governor DeSantis.
As the bill title states, the law will create better protocols regarding law enforcement applicants, as well as amend others such as the use-of-force protocol.
As reported by The Florida Capital Star, “each police force and law enforcement agency in the state will now be required to have a use-of-force standard. This [will], in essence, create a statewide minimum standard, including methods to de-escalate situations.” An example of how the use-of-force protocol will be amended, the law prohibits the use of chokeholds by officers unless they or anyone else are faced with an immediate threat to severe bodily injury or death. The law will also require officers who witness excessive force to intervene.
Regarding background checks, the law will require applying officers to reveal information regarding use-of-force investigations, as well as maintain thorough communication of said investigations between law enforcement agencies across the state.
Florida State Senator Rudolph Bracy (D-District 11), issued a statement about to The News Service of Florida Wednesday that said the law “offers pragmatic solutions to create meaningful change in police departments statewide. It is a good first step towards ensuring transparency and accountability in policing.”
In a statement included in the report by The Capital Star, Republican Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said in support of the bill, “House Bill 7051 continues to build faith and trust in law enforcement. With these measures, we can begin our work to recognize good police practices and affirm confidence in policing. Our first priority as lawmakers should be to keep Floridians and their communities safe.”
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]