Gov. DeSantis signs bill limiting what a citizens' review board can give input on

Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 601 into law Friday, preventing citizens’ police review boards from investigating law enforcement.

Previously, the board could review internal affairs investigations like officer-involved shootings and provide feedback. Now, they will not be able to hear cases involving officers, but instead can just weigh in on policy and procedures.

Gov. DeSantis and the FDLE commissioner claimed board members are activists who lack the understanding of necessary policies and procedures.

"They're not free to use law enforcement as political pinatas," said Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday.

"These men and women do not need to be scrutinized again and again by a committee that has no idea what they're talking about," added Mark Glass, the FDLE Commissioner.

Attorney Caila Coleman who served on Orlando’s Citizens’ Police Review Board for several years says members are trained by police departments themselves.

"It signals to me that those people have never sat in on a meeting and they're just basing it on whatever narrative somebody else is giving them," said Coleman. "I'm a lawyer and for somebody to tell me that I've never had experience with law enforcement when I was a criminal defense attorney, that's a very ignorant statement to me."

Coleman says the board provides transparency and perspective from those whom officers have sworn to protect.

"In 2016, when I became a member of the board, there were only a few officers on the OPD team that had body cameras. So we pressed the chief at the time to ask when our other officers going to get body cameras? And he ended up outfitting all of the officers with body cameras," explained Coleman. "That was something that was very, to me, pivotal. It shows what a police review board is supposed to be, to not only help police officers but to help the citizens as well."

How the board is selected has changed with this new law. According to the new law, the chief or sheriff has the power to select board members. Previously,  in Orlando, a nominating board made recommendations to Mayor Dyer for vacancies on City Boards.

"Personally, I don't think it is good business," said Orlando Rolón', the former OPD Police Chief. "I do believe that the way it was structured, to me, it was fair in the sense that it wasn't just someone being hand-picked by one single individual. It allowed for, a number of people to participate in the process."

The City of Orlando says it's evaluating the details of the bill and will have more information on the impacts before it goes into effect on July 1.