LEO’s Bill of Rights in Florida

In Florida, a law enforcement officer is entitled to the protections provided in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights when the officer is under investigation and subject to interrogation by members of the officer’s agency for any reason that could lead to disciplinary action, demotion, or dismissal.

Many routine police inquiries and reports are not protected by the Bill of Rights since the officer is not “under investigation.”

Once the questioning or report focuses on the officer’s conduct for disciplinary purposes, however, the agency must comply with Section 112.532(1), Florida Statutes, which requires:

  • (a) The interrogation shall be conducted at a reasonable hour, preferably at a time when the law enforcement officer or correctional officer is on duty, unless the seriousness of the investigation is of such a degree that immediate action is required.
  • (b) The interrogation shall take place either at the office of the command of the investigating officer or at the office of the local precinct, police unit, or correctional unit in which the incident allegedly occurred, as designated by the investigating officer or agency.
  • (c) The law enforcement officer or correctional officer under investigation shall be informed of the rank, name, and command of the officer in charge of the investigation, the interrogating officer, and all persons present during the interrogation.
    • All questions directed to the officer under interrogation shall be asked by or through one interrogator during any one investigative interrogation, unless specifically waived by the officer under investigation.
  • (d) The law enforcement officer or correctional officer under investigation must be informed of:
    • the nature of the investigation before any interrogation begins, and
    • he or she must be informed of the names of all complainants.
    • All identifiable witnesses shall be interviewed, whenever possible, prior to the beginning of the investigative interview of the accused officer.
    • must be provided to each officer who is the subject of the complaint
    • Before the beginning of any investigative interview of that officer, the officer must be provided with:
      • the complaint;
      • all witness statements, including all other existing subject officer statements, and
      • all other existing evidence, including, but not limited to:
        • incident reports;
        • GPS locator information; and
        • audio or video recordings relating to the incident under investigation,
    • An officer, after being informed of the right to review witness statements, may voluntarily waive the provisions of this paragraph and provide a voluntary statement at any time.
  • (e) Interrogating sessions shall be for reasonable periods and shall be timed to allow for such personal necessities and rest periods as are reasonably necessary.
  • (f) The law enforcement officer or correctional officer under interrogation may not be subjected to offensive language or be threatened with transfer, dismissal, or disciplinary action.
    • A promise or reward may not be made as an inducement to answer any questions.
  • (g) The formal interrogation of a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, including all recess periods, must be recorded on audio tape, or otherwise preserved in such a manner as to allow a transcript to be prepared, and there shall be no unrecorded questions or statements.
    • Upon the request of the interrogated officer, a copy of any recording of the interrogation session must be made available to the interrogated officer no later than 72 hours, excluding holidays and weekends, following said interrogation.
  • (h) If the law enforcement officer or correctional officer under interrogation is under arrest, or is likely to be placed under arrest as a result of the interrogation, he or she shall be completely informed of all his or her rights before commencing the interrogation.
  • (i) At the request of any law enforcement officer or correctional officer under investigation, he or she has the right to be represented by counsel or any other representative of his or her choice, who shall be present at all times during the interrogation whenever the interrogation relates to the officer’s continued fitness for law enforcement or correctional service.
  • (j) Notwithstanding the rights and privileges provided by this part, this part does not limit the right of an agency to discipline or to pursue criminal charges against an officer.

Florida’s Complaint Review Boards

Section 112.532(2) explains the requirements for complaint review boards, including:

  • the complaint review board shall be composed of three members:
    • One member selected by the chief administrator of the agency or unit;
    • one member selected by the aggrieved officer; and
    • a third member to be selected by the other two members.

Agencies or units with more than 100 law enforcement officers or correctional officers shall utilize a five-member board, with two members selected by the administrator, two selected by the aggrieved officer, and the fifth selected by the other four members.

Retaliation – Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights

If a law enforcement officer or correction officer exercises rights guaranteed under Florida’s Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, the office shall not, by reason of his or her exercise of the rights granted by Section Section 112.532, be:

  • discharged;
  • disciplined;
  • demoted;
  • denied promotion, transfer, or reassignment; or
  • otherwise discriminated against in regard to his or her employment or appointment, or
  • be threatened with any such treatment.

Under this provision, the agency may not retaliate against an officer for exercising their rights.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 10, 2024.