New Laws in Florida Aim to Protect Police Officers and First Responders

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed two new laws aimed at safeguarding police officers and first responders. Senate Bill 184 (SB 184) and House Bill 601 (HB 601) were signed into law at an event hosted by St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick and his agency.

SB 184 makes it illegal to harass police officers or first responders while they’re on duty. This includes approaching them with the intent to interfere with their work, threaten them, or harass them. Violators of this law will face second-degree misdemeanor charges.

HB 601 prevents anti-police activists from conducting unauthorized investigations against law enforcement. It also establishes civilian oversight boards, overseen by county sheriffs or police chiefs, to investigate misconduct allegations.

These boards will be staffed with three to seven members, including at least one retired law enforcement officer. Additionally, the law increases the base salaries of county sheriffs by $5,000 for each population group.

Sheriff Hardwick praised the new laws, emphasizing their importance in establishing boundaries that protect officers while they carry out their duties. He thanked Governor DeSantis, calling Florida the most law enforcement-friendly state.

New Laws in Florida Aim to Protect Police Officers and First Responders

Mark Glass, Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement commissioner, highlighted the legislation’s role in protecting officers’ rights and safety.

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Governor DeSantis commended St. Johns County’s growth and emphasized the importance of law enforcement in maintaining safety and quality of life. He noted that HB 601 will take effect on July 1, while SB 184 will take effect on January 1.

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