The Florida legislature passed by unanimous vote HB 7051 and it is awaiting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature to put it into law. The bill requires application for employment or appointment as law enforcement or correctional officer to contain specified disclosures; requires background investigation of the applicant to include specified information; requires employing agencies to maintain employment information for minimum period; requires establishment of standards for officer training & policies concerning use of force; requires law enforcement agencies to establish policies for specified use of force investigations; requires investigation to include an independent report; requires report to be submitted to state attorney; requires law enforcement agencies to submit specified data to FDLE; prohibits child younger than certain age from being arrested, charged, or adjudicated delinquent for delinquent act or violation of law.
The bill intends to enact minimum standards of hiring, training, and performance on a police agency in Florida. It also intends to end the practice of a “bad cop” leaving one police agency only to be hired at another by providing an affidavit requiring an applicant to disclose any pending investigation by a local, state, or federal agency and if applicable, to disclose why they left their previous criminal justice employment.
The bill also eliminates “chokehold” and use of excessive force by law enforcement officers and correctional officers. As well, law enforcement agencies would need to develop and maintain policies regarding use of force investigations concerning a law enforcement officer employed by the agency at the time of the use of force. The investigation must include an independent review by those not employed by the same law enforcement agency.
Also included in the bill is a section called the “Kaia Rolle Act” which keeps law enforcement from arresting, charging, or adjudicating a child seven years or younger for a delinquent act or violation of law. There are other measures available to law enforcement and government agencies when someone is seven years or younger violates state law.