TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida legislature voted today to pass House Bill 7051, which creates minimum basic standards training for law enforcement. If signed into law, the bill will require law enforcement and correctional officer applicants to disclose to future criminal justice system employers any pending investigations for criminal, civil, or administrative wrongdoing.
It also provides that after July 1, 2023, every basic skills course required to receive initial certification includes training in de-escalation techniques, instruction on proportional use of force, limiting chokeholds, intervening in another officer’s excessive use of force, and rendering medical assistance following the use of force. Among other provisions, it provides that each law enforcement agency shall report quarterly to the department data regarding use of force incidents after July 1, 2022.
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel, responded to today’s vote with the following:
“In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black individuals at the hands of law enforcement, there has been universal recognition of the need to reform policing in America. This bill is a welcome step in the right direction, but Florida still has a long way to go on police reforms.
“Passing bills like HB 7051 while also passing HB 1 amounts to ‘one step forward, two decades back.’ The focus of this legislative session should have been on passing the myriad of police reforms introduced this session, not enacting laws like HB 1 that expand law enforcement discretion to lock up peaceful protesters. Floridians deserve comprehensive policing reform that reallocates resources to support community needs; amends the Florida police bill of rights to remove provisions that impose barriers to accountability; ends qualified immunity in Florida; and establishes empowered community oversight structures, among other reforms. We need these comprehensive reforms in Florida now.”