Florida Police Chiefs Association Update: Week Ending February 14, 2014

Feb 14, 2014


The following is an informational update on law enforcement news, events, legislative developments and meetings relating to the Florida Police Chiefs Association community for the week ending February 14, 2014. 

Click on the hyperlinks in bold type to access all information.

Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Florida Police Chiefs Association lobbyists, Colodny Fass& Webb.




Scott Pine:  First Florida deputy killed in line of duty in 2014

There are nearly 41,000 sworn law-enforcement officers who work full-time in Florida, and line-of-duty deaths involving gunfire occur occasionally.  Jonathan Scott Pine is the first deputy to be shot to death in Florida this year.


Florida crime lab chemist arrested on charges of selling stolen drug evidence

A former chemist in a Florida crime lab was arrested on charges of selling stolen drug evidence that had been switched with over-the-counter medicine, authorities said.


Dramatic Overhaul of Florida Pension Bill Filed

A Florida Senate measure dramatically overhauling the pension plans for many future public employees has been introduced, setting off a highly anticipated election-year fight between unions and Republican legislative leaders.


Governor Scott Proposes Florida Department of Law Enforcement Budget Increase

Although Florida Governor Rick Scott has proposed allocating more money for the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement, local law enforcement agencies are unlikely to see any of it directly.


Senate President throws support behind medical marijuana

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz pledged support for efforts to legalize non-euphoric strains of marijuana.


Florida lawmaker files bill that would ban release of arrest mug shots

State Representative Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, wants to prevent sheriffs and police from releasing booking photos of people charged with crimes.


With Traffic Enforcement Bills Pending, Florida Makes “Worst” List For Highway Safety

Florida has landed on the “Worst States” list for lax highway safety laws by a national consumer group, although the mileage death rate – the number of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled – has dropped three-quarters of a percentage point in the last decade.


Proposed Florida bill would say no to implementing federal gun laws

A Florida lawmaker submitted a bill that would prohibit state, county and local law enforcement officers from assisting or cooperating with U.S. agents enforcing federal gun laws.


Heroin abuse at epidemic level in South Florida

A high-profile law enforcement crackdown on prescription painkiller abuse in Florida has addicts turning increasingly to heroin, resulting in the highest number of overdose deaths and hospitalizations in recent years, a report on drug abuse said.


Florida Department of Law Enforcement Appoints New General Counsel

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has just announced the appointment of Thomas Kirwin as General Counsel for the Agency.  He is replacing Michael Ramage who has been in the position since 1992.


Florida leaders discuss criminal justice issues in Orlando

The thousands of inmates released from Florida’s prisons each year aren’t given much to start their new life – a bus ticket and $40.


Florida prosecutors file legal charges against heavy Bitcoin traders

Apparently for the first time, state laws are being wielded against heavy Bitcoin traders.


Florida police group:  Use hotel tax to keep tourists safe

As local authorities investigate a string of hotel robberies in Central Florida’s tourist areas, a statewide law-enforcement group is asking lawmakers for help.


Orlando mayor appoints new police chief

Orlando is getting a new police chief.  Mayor Buddy Dyer announced that current Chief Paul Rooney is retiring and that he is appointing veteran Orlando officer John Mina to replace him.


Voters to decide if Live Oak police chief will be elected or appointed

The Live Oak City Council voted to place the Live Oak Chief of Police position on the ballot in May and let city voters decide if they want the position elected or appointed. Council members Keith Mixon and Jacob Grantham voted against the measure.


Commissioners Want More Input in Vetting Lakeland Police Chief Hire

As Lakeland begins looking for a new police chief, the search may be conducted differently than when it hired outgoing Chief Lisa Womack, the city manager says.  And that’s a good thing, according to consultants familiar with making such hires.


Plant City to seek outside review of commissioner’s action in police chief investigation

The Plant City Commission voted to seek an independent review from the state into whether Commissioner Billy Keel acted improperly during an investigation that led to the police chief’s firing.


South Miami Police Department gets accreditation

The South Miami Police Department earned full accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation on Feb 6.


CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrests of Miami Public Adjuster and Four Others in Property Insurance Fraud Scheme

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the arrest of Miami public adjuster Roberto Alvarez, 44, for allegedly submitting more than $270,000 in fraudulent homeowners insurance claims.  Also arrested were four homeowners whom Alvarez recruited to participate in the scheme to defraud. 


“Speedy” DeWitt:  Legendary Brevard County Lawman

When Sellen Robert “Speedy” DeWitt Jr. picked up his new badge with the Sheriff’s Office in 1963, John F. Kennedy was the president and Vietnam was just another obscure place on the other side of the world.





Additional Actions Needed to Improve Reporting on and Planning for the Use of Contract Personnel

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office–Limitations in the intelligence community’s (IC) inventory of contract personnel hinder the ability to determine the extent to which the eight civilian IC elements–the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and six components within the Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, State and the Treasury–use these personnel.  The IC Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) conducts an annual inventory of core contract personnel that includes information on the number and costs of these personnel.  However, the GAO identified a number of limitations in the inventory that collectively limit the comparability, accuracy, and consistency of the information reported by the civilian IC elements as a whole.  For example, changes to the definition of core contract personnel and data shortcomings limit the comparability of the information over time.  In addition, the civilian IC elements used various methods to calculate the number of contract personnel and did not maintain documentation to validate the number of personnel reported for 37 percent of the 287 records the GAO reviewed.  Further, the IC CHCO did not fully disclose the effects of such limitations when reporting contract personnel and cost information to Congress, which limits its transparency and usefulness.


Ammunition Purchases Have Declined since 2009

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office–The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) annual ammunition purchases have declined since fiscal year 2009 and are comparable in number to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ammunition purchases.  In fiscal year 2013, the DHS purchased 84 million rounds of ammunition, which is less than its ammunition purchases over the past 5 fiscal years, as shown in the figure below. DHS component officials said the decline in ammunition purchases in fiscal year 2013 was primarily a result of budget constraints, which meant reducing the number of training classes, and drawing on their ammunition inventories.  From fiscal years 2008 through 2013, the DHS purchased an average of 109 million rounds of ammunition for training, qualification, and operational needs, according to DHS data.  The DHS’s ammunition purchases over the six-year period equates to an average of 1,200 rounds purchased per firearm-carrying agent or officer per year.  Over the past three fiscal years (2011-2013), the DHS purchased an average of 1,000 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer and selected DOJ components purchased 1,300 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer.


Personnel Security Clearances:  Actions Needed to Ensure Quality of Background Investigations and Resulting Decisions

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office–Several agencies have key roles and responsibilities in the multi-phased personnel security clearance process, including the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who, as the Security Executive Agent, is responsible for developing policies and procedures related to security clearance investigations and adjudications, among other things.  The Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget chairs the Performance Accountability Council that oversees reform efforts to enhance the personnel security process.  The security process includes:  the determination of whether a position requires a clearance, application submission, investigation and adjudication.  Specifically, agency officials must first determine whether a federal civilian position requires access to classified information.  After an individual has been selected for a position that requires a personnel security clearance and the individual submits an application for a clearance, investigators-often contractors-from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conduct background investigations for most executive branch agencies.  Adjudicators from requesting agencies use the information from these investigations and federal adjudicative guidelines to determine whether an applicant is eligible for a clearance.  Further, individuals are subject to reinvestigations at intervals based on the level of security clearance.


Border Security:  U.S. Department of Homeland Security Needs to Strengthen Its Efforts to Modernize Key Enforcement Systems

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office–The schedule and cost for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) border enforcement system modernization program known as TECS Mod that is managed by Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) continue to change; while the part managed in parallel by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is undergoing major revisions to its scope, schedule, and cost after discovering that its initial solution is not technically viable.  The CBP’s $724 million program intends to modernize the functionality, data, and aging infrastructure of legacy TECS and move it to DHS’s data centers by 2016.  To date, the CBP has deployed functionality to improve its secondary inspection processes to air and sea ports of entry and, more recently, to land ports of entry in 2013.  However, the CBP is in the process of revising its schedule baseline for the second time in under a year.  Further, the CBP has not developed its master schedule sufficiently to reliably manage work activities or monitor program progress.  These factors raise questions about the certainty of CBP’s remaining schedule commitments.  Regarding ICE’s $818 million TECS Mod program, it is redesigning and replanning its program, having determined in June 2013 that its initial solution was not viable and could not support ICE’s needs.  As a result, ICE largely halted development and is now assessing design alternatives and is revising its schedule and cost estimates.  Program officials stated the revisions will be complete in spring 2014.  Until ICE completes the replanning effort, it is unclear what functionality it will deliver, when it will deliver it, or what it will cost to do so, thus putting it in jeopardy of not completing the modernization by its 2015 deadline.


2013 End-of-Year Law Enforcement Fatalities Report

From the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund–According to preliminary data, 111 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2013, an 8% decrease from 2012, when 121 officers were killed.  This was the fewest number of fatalities for the law enforcement profession since 1959 when 110 officers died.  In 2013, traffic-related fatalities were again the leading cause of officer fatalities in 2013, accounting for 46 deaths, or 41% of total fatalities.  Ambush attacks were again the leading circumstance of officer fatalities in firearms-related deaths.  Of the 33 firearms-related fatalities in 2013, seven officers were shot and killed in ambush attacks, more than any circumstance of fatal shootings.


Process and Outcome Evaluation of the G.R.E.A.T. Program

From the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice–The findings and methodology are presented for the process and outcome evaluation of the G.R.E.A.T. program (Gang Resistance Education and Training), which is a 13-lesson school-based program taught by uniformed law enforcement officers to middle-school students, with the intent of reducing gang membership and associated delinquent behavior.  Based on scored observations of the 33 officers teaching G.R.E.A.T. in participating school, 27 scored with average fidelity to program design, and content; 3 scored with below-average fidelity; and 3 failed to deliver the program with sufficient fidelity to have the intended effect.  The outcome portion of the evaluation, which analyzed data one-year post-program delivery, found statistically significant differences between the treatment (G.R.E.A.T.) samples and the control students on 14 out of 33 attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. The study continued the monitoring of the students for three more years.  The 4-year post-program analyses found results similar to the 1-year post-program effects, albeit with smaller effect sizes.  After four years, 10positive program effects were found, including lower odds of joining a gang and more positive attitudes toward police.


Justice Reinvestment in Idaho: Analysis and Policy Framework

From the Council of State Governments–This bulletin describes Idaho’s efforts to employ a data-driven “justice reinvestment” approach to develop a statewide policy framework that would decrease spending on corrections and reinvest savings in strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.  In 2012, 84% of new felony sentences were either placed on probation or sentenced to participate in the Rider program.  A “Rider” is a sentence in which the court retains jurisdiction over individuals for up to 365 days, usually with a short period of incarceration together with programming and further evaluation.  However, 30% of those people initially diverted from a prison term went to prison within the next three years either through a probation revocation or for failing in Rider.  Low-risk individuals who successfully complete a Rider and then start a term of probation return to prison within three years at almost twice the rate of low-risk individuals who start a new probation term without ever having been to Rider (21% compared to 12%).  Sentencing high-risk individuals to Rider does not reduce their recidivism rate, which is equivalent to high-risk individuals sentenced to probation.  Of high-risk individuals who completed a Rider prior to a term of probation, 71% returned to prison within three years, compared to 70% of high-risk individuals who started a new probation term without Rider.


Demographic Patterns of Cumulative Arrest Prevalence by Ages 18 and 23  

From Crime and Delinquency–This analysis of arrest histories for respondents between the ages of 18 and 23 revealed that 49% of all black men are arrested by age 23 and 30% of black men reported at least one arrest by age 18.  More than a third (38%) of white men and 44% of Hispanic males were arrested by age 23.


Options Exist to Modify Use of Driver License Suspension for Non-Driving-Related Reasons

From the Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government AccountabilityIndividuals who violate Florida laws may be sanctioned through the suspension or revocation of their driver licenses for both driving and non-driving-related offenses.  In Fiscal Year 2012-13, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspended or revoked more than 167,000 driver licenses for non-driving-related reasons, including failure to pay court financial obligations and being delinquent on child support payments.  In general, individuals must fulfill financial and other obligations to fully reinstate their driving privileges.  The time from suspension or revocation to reinstatement varies.  Licenses suspended for child support and school truancy violations were frequently reinstated within one year.  However, many licenses suspended or revoked for other non-driving-related violations were not reinstated for several years after the suspension. Florida could consider options to modify the use of driver license suspensions or revocations as a sanction for non-driving-related reasons.


Florida State Courts 2012-13 Annual Report  

From the Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator–This annual report provides a review of the past year’s accomplishments and an overview of longer term issues for the Florida state courts system, such as strengthening governance, improving the administration of justice through technology and accountability, and supporting education for judges and court personnel. Preliminary data for Fiscal Year 2012 – 2013 reveal that approximately 3.7 million complaints and petitions were filed in the state’s trial and appellate courts.  During that same period, Florida’s courts disposed of approximately 4 million cases, utilizing a variety of dispute resolution methods-among them, diversion, mediation, plea and adjudication by trial.  These cases ranged from simple traffic citations to high-profile criminal proceedings and complex civil disputes with multiple parties.


Pregnancy and Child-Related Legal and Policy Issues Concerning Justice-Involved Women

From the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections–This report is the first of a two-part series on legal issues affecting corrections with regard to justice-involved women.  The first report specifically focuses on reproductive health issues; pregnancy management, particularly with regard to obstetrics and gynecological health issues; pregnancy-related security considerations; visitation; the effect of parental incarceration on both the incarcerated mother and child; and how these issues must inform reentry planning.  This report is recommended as a reference for commissioners of correctional departments and their legal staff, wardens, sheriffs, and other prison and jail administrators; community correctional officials; service providers; and stakeholders, including advocates for inmates.


Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide

From U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention–This Website is a relaunch of the Model Programs Guide (MPG), an online resource of more than 180 evidence-based prevention, intervention, and reentry programs for juvenile justice practitioners, policymakers and communities.  The MPG includes programs addressing a variety of topics, including child victimization, substance abuse, youth violence, mental health and trauma, and gang activity.  In addition to providing program profiles, the MPG offers information on program implementation, literature reviews and resource links.


Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents

From the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention–This report summarizes both the research and stakeholder input shared during a public meeting on the needs of children of incarcerated parents and offers recommendations to further advance the availability and effectiveness of mentoring for these children.  Parents may be incarcerated in correctional facilities at either the local or state level and the length of incarceration varies by type of facility. Jails are locally operated correctional facilities and sentences to jail (typically misdemeanors) are usually one year or less, whereas prisons (state or federal) typically are further away and generally involve sentences (typically for felonies) that are longer than one year.  The best available estimates indicate that at least 1.7 million youth under the age of 18 have at least one parent currently in prison in the United States and millions more have a parent currently in jail.


Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report  

From the Urban Institute–Seventeen Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) states are projected to save as much as $4.6 billion through reforms that increase the efficiency of their criminal justice systems.  Eight states that had JRI policies in effect for at least 1 year-Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina-reduced their prison populations.  Through JRI, states receive federal dollars to assess and improve their criminal justice systems while enhancing public safety.  This report chronicles 17 states as they enacted comprehensive criminal justice reforms relying on bipartisan and interbranch collaboration.  The study notes common factors that drove prison growth and costs and documents how each state responded with targeted policies.


Prevalence of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

From the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice– This brief presents results of a pilot project implementing a screening tool for commercial sexual exploitation of children.  Commercial sexual exploitation of children is the sexual abuse of a minor for economic gain that involves physical abuse, pornography, prostitution, and the smuggling of children for unlawful purposes.  Pilot project sites included Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange counties.  Of youth screened using the pilot project tool for potential commercial sexual exploitation of children 12% were ultimately verified bythe Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) as victims.  Most (98%) of the verified youth were female; and 40% of the verified youth were verified as a result of DCF notification initiated by the pilot sites (illustrating effectiveness of the pilot project).  DCF-verified victims were more likely to have alcohol and drug use history, twice as likely to have 3 or more prior DCF placements, and 2.7 times more likely to have over 5 instances of running away.


Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009-11

From U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics–This report presents counts of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported to correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Correctional administrators reported 8,763 allegations of sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2011, a statistically significant increase over the number of allegations reported in 2009 (7,855) and 2010 (8,404).  About half of all allegations (51%) involved nonconsensual sexual acts (the most serious, including penetration) or abusive sexual contacts (less serious, including unwanted touching, grabbing, and groping) of inmates with other inmates.  Nearly half (49%) involved staff sexual misc onduct (any sexual act directed toward an inmate by staff) or sexual harassment (demeaning verbal statements of a sexual nature) directed toward inmates. More than half (54%) of all substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct and a quarter (26%) of all incidents of staff sexual harassment were committed by female staff.  Overall, more than three-quarters (78%) of staff perpetrators were fired or resigned.  Nearly half (45%) were arrested, referred for prosecution, or convicted.


Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2012

From the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics–This survey of the administrators of state criminal history record repositories in all 50 states found that the total number of persons in criminal history files was 100,596,300, of which 94,434,600 were automated records.  All of Florida’s 6.3 million records in the database were automated. Thirty-two states, representing 70% of the individual offenders in the nation’s criminal history records, report that 60% or more arrests in the entire criminal history database have final dispositions recorded.


2013 Juvenile Justice State Legislation

From the National Conference of State Legislatures–This report provides an overview of major legislative changes in states’ juvenile justice policies.  Overall, state juvenile justice legislation in 2013 focused on changing waiver and transfer laws, raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction, sentencing reforms, community based alternatives to incarceration and the importance of mental health evaluations.  Many states enacted juvenile sentencing reforms in 2013, often in response to the recent U. S. Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama, which prohibits mandatory juvenile life without parole sentencing.


GPS Monitoring:  An Effective, Cost-Saving Option

From the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice–This article summarizes research literature that supports the expanded use of Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring for high-risk offenders in the community.  With rising costs and shrinking budgets, GPS monitoring has been presented as a low cost alternative to incarceration or traditional community supervision.  A study of high-risk sex offenders on parole in California showed that those placed on GPS monitoring had significantly lower recidivism rates than those who received traditional supervision.  The GPS monitoring system also proved to be more cost-effective than traditional supervision.


Playbook for Change? States Reconsider Mandatory Sentences

From the Vera Institute of Justice–Since 2000, at least 29 states have taken steps to roll back mandatory sentences, with 32 bills passed in just the last five years. Most legislative activity has focused on adjusting penalties for nonviolent drug offenses through the use of one or a combination of the following reform approaches:  1) expanding judicial discretion through the creation of so-called “safety valve” provisions, 2) limiting automatic sentence enhancements, and 3) repealing or revising mandatory minimum sentences.  This policy report summarizes state-level mandatory sentencing reforms since 2000, raises questions about their impact, and offers recommendations to jurisdictions considering similar efforts.


School Discipline Consensus Project Survey of School System Leaders

From the Council of State Governments Justice Center--Key findings from this survey of over 350 school system leaders show that 56% of respondents indicated their school system had recently updated its discipline policies.  These updates were varied, with the most common changes resulting in a new graduated system of responses to misbehavior and modifications to the types of offenses that warrant removal.  Also, most ( 96%) respondents whose school district used school-based officers indicated that these officers had a positive influence on the school environment.  This survey was conducted in February 2013 as part of the School Discipline Consensus Project to obtain information on current student discipline policies and procedures.




Wednesday, February 19

Crisis Communication Webinar  Members Only

2:00-3:00 p.m.  To Register  More Information


Tuesday, March 11

Crisis Communication Webinar  Members Only

10:00-11:00 a.m.   To Register  More Information


Wednesday, March 19

Crisis Communication Webinar  Members Only

2:00-3:00 p.m.    More Information  To Register  


Tuesday, April 15

Crisis Communication Webinar  Members Only 

10:00-11:00 a.m.   More Information  To Register  


Wednesday, April 23

Crisis Communication Webinar  Members Only

2:00-3:00 p.m.   More Information  To Register  


Sunday, June 29

62nd Annual Summer Training Conference
Boca Raton Resort & Club  501 East Camino Real Boca Raton, FL 33432  

Tentative Conference Agenda   Attendee Information  Attendee Registration  Exhibitor Registration  Exhibitor Information  Exhibitor Rules  Booth Layout


August 18-22

Advanced Law Enforcement Executives Seminar
The Florida Hotel 1500 Sand Lake Road Orlando, FL   Information coming soon!

September 22-26

Future Law Enforcement Executives Seminar
The Florida Hotel 1500 Sand Lake Road Orlando, FL