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Florida may enact standards for police body cameras

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Law-enforcement agencies that use body cameras may soon have to follow certain guidelines. The Florida House on Friday passed a bill that would require police to develop standards for the use of body cameras and how the audio and video files will be stored. The bill (HB 93) does not mandate that police must use body cameras. Most Florida law-enforcement agencies don’t use the devices. However, there’s been a push nationally to increase their use in the wake of police…

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Bill requiring quick testing of rape kits goes to Gov. Rick Scott

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Law enforcement agencies will soon have to turn over rape kits for testing within 30 days under a bill sent Wednesday to Gov. Rick Scott, who plans to sign it. The bill is a response to a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Florida, an issue Attorney General Pam Bondi brought awareness to last fall. “This can make a tremendous impact not only in the state of Florida but throughout our country,” said Bondi, who noted the information…

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Lawmakers find accord with law enforcement on civil forfeiture bill

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An amended bill that would reshape the way civil forfeiture works in Florida passed the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. Under current law, law enforcement can seize a person’s property, including cash, if they suspect it is being used to commit a crime or is the proceed from crime. Under that scenario, no charges have to be filed against the person whose property is being seized. The amended House bill now requires an arrest, with limited exceptions, before officers can take…

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Bob Gualtieri tops $62,000 in January from donors for sheriff re-election bid

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Despite lacking any formidable opponent, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri doesn’t appear to be taking any chances in his re-election bid. Gualtieri raised more than $62,000 in January bringing his total campaign account to about $72,000. Gualtieri’s only filed opponent, James McLynas, has not raised a dime. Gualtieri’s fundraising haul came mostly from large contributions. More than $30,000 of his January total came from maximum $1,000 contributions. That includes several in the law enforcement and legal field. Former Pinellas County…

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Body camera bill poised for House vote

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A bill to require the use of body cameras for Florida law enforcement officers is ready for a vote before the full House after getting final approval in a committee. The House Judiciary Committee passed HB 93 by Rep. Shevrin Jones by a unanimous vote Thursday. Jones, a Broward Democrat, said his bill would provide comprehensive protections for residents  and law enforcement officers both. Florida has seen a rash of shooting deaths at the hands of police in recent years. Criminal justice reform advocates say…

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Jeff Brandes, Matt Caldwell want to rein in asset seizure by law enforcement

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A pair of Republican lawmakers spoke to reporters Thursday about their proposal to revamp the seizure of assets by police in Florida, amid reports the value of property taken from suspects across the country now exceeds that of property stolen by criminals. St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes and Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell told assembled media some elements of law enforcement are wrongly “self-appropriating” funds by taking advantage of civil forfeiture laws. The legislators say some laws — like the landmark federal RICO Act passed in part…

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NFL plans to increase security inside and outside stadiums

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The NFL says it will increase security inside and outside its stadiums for Sunday’s games, two days after the Paris terrorist attacks. Spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that there will be more security and law enforcement personnel at the venues and in parking lots, along with other added security measures. A league statement says it has been told by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI “that there are no known threats against NFL stadiums.” The league says it…

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