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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Bill banning police review boards is on its way to the full Florida House

Exterior shot of the Tampa Police Department building
WUSF Public Media
A bill that would ban review boards that investigate local law enforcement is headed to the full Florida House.

The measure would do away with existing review boards and prohibit counties and cities from creating panels to delve into complaints about alleged police wrongdoing.

A House bill that would ban review boards that investigate local law enforcement is headed to the full House.

The measure (HB 601), approved Wednesday in a 16-3 vote by the House Judiciary Committee, would do away with existing review boards and prohibit counties and cities from creating panels to delve into complaints about alleged police wrongdoing.

The ACLU of Florida criticized the bill as halting efforts to increase trust between residents and law-enforcement officials.

“(Civilian review boards) pose no threat to law-abiding officers and are designed to have a specific scope of work,” ACLU of Florida policy strategist NR Hines said in a statement. “For example, here in Leon County the civilian review board can only review closed cases, but there is more transparency in police activity --- which is important to build trust between the community and the police department.”

At least 21 Florida cities with citizen review boards would be affected by the bill.

The Senate version of the bill (SB 576) seeks to eliminate existing review boards. But it would give local law-enforcement officials the ability to set up new oversight panels that would only focus on agencies’ policies and procedures. The new boards could include three to seven members who would be appointed by sheriffs or police chiefs.

The Senate proposal, sponsored by Sen Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, needs approval from the Rules Committee before it could go to the full Senate.