Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 2 law enforcement-focused bills in St. Augustine

St. Augustine, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis signed two bills today in St Augustine, restricting citizen review boards and creating criminal penalties for interfering with the duties of first responders.

DeSantis said the new laws are intended to help support law enforcement.


During the legislative session, concerns were raised about both of these bills, questioning whether they could make it more difficult to hold police accountable.

First responders, like police, firefighters, and paramedics, will soon be authorized to establish a 25-foot no-go zone under legislation signed by DeSantis.

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Ignoring the warnings of first responders and coming too close while they perform their official duties could result in a penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Additionally, 21 citizen review boards throughout the state will be put at risk due to another bill signed by DeSantis.

That bill prohibits citizen review boards established by local governments from investigating alleged police misconduct.

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It does authorize Sheriffs and police chiefs to establish their own citizen oversight boards, which could review agency policies and procedures.

“If you have review boards, that’s fine, but it’s got to be done ways where you have the sheriff or chief of police appointing people because the sheriffs and the chief of police, they have an interest in ensuring that their personnel are conducting themselves appropriately as well. I mean, good order and discipline is very important,” DeSantis said.

Coming up tonight on Action News Jax, we’ll hear from criminal justice reform advocates, who fear these two new laws will make it harder to hold bad apples in law enforcement accountable.

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