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New police reform law won't affect local law enforcement agencies

Their policies and procedures already align with new law
Posted at 6:59 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-03 02:03:39-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Local law enforcement agencies say the new police reform bill officially signed into law by Gov. DeSantis Tuesday won't affect them.

HB 7051 is a police reform bill that came after the death of George Floyd just over a year ago.

According to the Tallahassee Police Department, their practices and policies won't change since it already aligns with what's now in effect.

"TPD is always looking at the policies and always re-evaluating them as different legislation comes in," said Heather Martin with TPD. "They're always paying attention to what the conversations are, so we can figure out how to best serve the community."

TPD isn't the only law enforcement agency that feels this way.

"everything that was noted in the bill has been our policy for some time," Lieutenant Jeff Yarbrough with Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said.

He's talking about the provisions in the Police Reform bill, which include

  • Limits on chokeholds
  • Better use of force training
  • Ending arrests of children seven and under, unless committing forcible felonies
  • Improved record-keeping to prevent the hiring of bad officers

In terms of force, such as chokeholds, the policy with WCSO follows the new law.

"There needs to be an elevated level of deadly force for officers to believe that they can use those," Lt. Yarbrough said.

He said it's also in Wakulla County's policy that if excessive force is used, medical treatment must be given to the suspect, and if an officer sees another officer go to far, they must intervene to stop it.

Lt. Yarbrough said his agency will probably receive guidance from the state on hiring practices and some reporting procedures.

Regardless of this new law, he said policies and procedures for law enforcement agencies are always being reviewed and changed.