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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title IV
Chapter 16
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F.S. 16.555
16.555 Crime Stoppers Trust Fund; rulemaking.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Department” shall mean the Department of Legal Affairs.
(b) “Units of local government” shall mean the various city and county governments of the state.
(c) “Crime Stoppers” shall mean members of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, Incorporated, a Florida Corporation.
(2) The department shall have all the powers necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes and provisions of this act.
(3) The department shall establish a trust fund for the purpose of grant administration to fund Crime Stoppers and their crime fighting programs within the units of a local government of the state.
(4)(a) The department shall make applications for all federal and state or private grants which meet the purposes of advancing Crime Stoppers in the State of Florida. Upon securing such grants, the funds shall be deposited in the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund.”
(b) The proceeds of the court cost imposed by s. 938.06 shall be deposited in a separate account in the trust fund, and within that account the funds shall be designated according to the judicial circuit in which they were collected. The funds in this account shall be used as provided in paragraph (5)(b).
(c) After an initial distribution of funds to the judicial circuit in which they were collected, up to 50 percent of the unencumbered funds returned to the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund from that circuit from a previous grant year, may, in subsequent grant years, be reallocated to other judicial circuits for special crime stoppers initiatives or other programs of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, as prioritized and determined by the department and the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers.
(5)(a) The department shall be the disbursing authority for the distribution of funding to units of local government which apply to the department for funding assistance.
(b) Funds deposited in the trust fund pursuant to paragraph (4)(b) shall be disbursed as provided in this paragraph. A county may apply to the department under s. 938.06 for a grant from the funds collected in the judicial circuit in which the county is located. A grant may be awarded only to counties that are served by an official member of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers and may be used only to support Crime Stoppers and its crime fighting programs. Only one such official member is eligible for support within any county. To aid the department in determining eligibility, the secretary of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers shall furnish the department with a schedule of authorized crime stoppers programs and shall update the schedule as necessary. The department shall award grants to eligible counties from available funds and shall distribute funds as equitably as possible, based on amounts collected within each county, if more than one county is eligible within a judicial circuit.
(c) A county that is awarded a grant under this section may use such funds to purchase and distribute promotional items to increase public awareness of, and to educate the public about, Crime Stoppers.
(d) Grants may be awarded to fund student crime watch programs pursuant to s. 1006.07(3).
(e) A county that is awarded a grant under this section may use such funds to pay rewards for tips that result in any of the following:
1. An arrest.
2. The recovery of stolen property.
3. The recovery of illegal narcotics.
4. The recovery of the body of a homicide victim.
5. The recovery of a human trafficking victim or a missing person connected to criminal activity.
6. The recovery of an illegal firearm or an illegal weapon on a K-12 school campus.
7. The prevention of a terrorist act.
8. The solving and closing of a criminal case involving a homicide or other violent felony offense that remains unsolved for 1 year or more after being reported to a law enforcement agency and that has no viable and unexplored investigatory leads.
(6) The department shall adopt and enforce rules to implement the provisions of this act. Such rules shall include, but shall not be limited to:
(a) Criteria for local governments to apply for funding from the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund” in order to aid in local law enforcement as provided in this section.
(b) The limits of funding to be distributed to local government units based on a pro rata share of grants made available through the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund” pursuant to paragraph (4)(a), and criteria for the equitable distribution of funds available pursuant to paragraph (4)(b).
(c) Provisions for the return of unused funds to be redeposited in the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund” if for any reason the unit of local government does not use the funds as intended within an agreed upon time.
(d) Provisions for the coordination with appropriate governmental agencies to support and enhance efforts to train the public in crime prevention methods and in personal safety principles, especially for citizens who live in, work at, or frequent locations having high crime rates. 12, 13, ch. 91-205; s. 2, ch. 98-319; s. 8, ch. 2001-380; s. 22, ch. 2002-402; s. 33, ch. 2003-399; s. 25, ch. 2004-269; s. 1, ch. 2006-2; s. 1, ch. 2015-136; s. 3, ch. 2018-3; s. 1, ch. 2019-167.