Media Contact

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

April 12, 2024

MIAMI, FL — On Friday, Gov. DeSantis signed House Bill 601 Restricting Civilian Law Enforcement Oversight Boards.

Howard Simon, interim executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following: 

“By signing House Bill 601 Gov. DeSantis has undermined much of the hard work that so many communities across Florida have engaged in to increase trust between residents and local law enforcement. 

“The legislation does not dissolve civilian review boards, it simply narrows their authority.

“For example, nothing in the legislation signed today prevents citizens from reviewing public records, including the record of a police investigation, and any such prohibition would be blatantly unconstitutional.

”In addition, review boards are still able to review police department policies and procedures on such matters as high-speed chases, use of deadly force by the police, procedures for ensuring public safety and protection of First Amendment rights at mass events, use of surveillance techniques, and other policies – and make recommendations to the Department Chief for the reform of those policies and procedures.

“Notwithstanding the clear hostility to civilian oversight of local law enforcement by the Governor and a majority of the Legislature, there is still a great need for civilian oversight as one strategy to foster confidence and trust between the police and communities they serve.”