TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida House Judiciary Committee voted to advance House Bill 601 (HB 601), which seeks to disband currently established civilian-run police review boards (CRBs), and remove local authority to create new CRBs. HB 601 will now head to the House Floor.
The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and a related bill, Senate Bill 576 (SB 576). The Senate Bill has already passed two of its three assigned committees.
NR Hines, policy strategist at the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:
“HB 601 invalidates the work local communities have put into attempting to increase trust between residents and law enforcement. Having a community that feels empowered to hold law enforcement in their area accountable is better for all Floridians.
“Civilian review boards (CRBs) were created to be unbiased boards that represent all residents and review police activity. CRBs pose no threat to law-abiding officers and are designed to have a specific scope of work. 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 a time where society’s perception of law enforcement varies widely, not surprising due to the lived experiences of marginalized communities, improving the public sentiment of law enforcement through local initiatives should be a top priority of this legislature. Unfortunately, the only solution the legislature sees is to once again remove local power, while they continue to waste our tax dollars on bad policies that restrict our freedoms and undermine our democracy.”