In May 2021, the Florida House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed a police reform bill. Under the terms of the proposed state law, police officers must disclose previous excessive force investigations and will receive de-escalation training. The law also limits circumstances in which officers can use chokeholds.
Learn more about what to expect from these Florida police reform initiatives, which Governor Ron DeSantis must approve before they become state law.
Provisions of the bill
Under the proposed law, all law enforcement agencies in Florida must create use of force policies that meet certain minimum standards. They must also undergo training about how to de-escalate situations without force, including the allowance for proportional use of force. Other required training includes information about the signs of mental illness and drug abuse as well as safe de-escalation strategies for these individuals.
Officers may not use chokeholds unless they face imminent serious injury or death. They also will have a duty to intervene to stop excessive use of force by another officer and get medical help for injured suspects.
Criticism of the bill
Many criminal justice reform advocates think the bill does too little to address police misconduct. As written, the law does not recommend specific penalties for use of excessive force, require body cameras or change state law enforcement spending. It also does not reform the doctrine of qualified immunity, which protects police officers from some lawsuits.
Review the progress of the bill with Governor DeSantis to remain informed about how this potential reform could affect Florida residents.