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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 943
DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
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F.S. 943.031
943.031 Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.
(1) FINDINGS.The Legislature finds that there is a need to develop and implement a statewide strategy to address violent criminal activity, including crimes committed by criminal gangs, and drug control efforts by state and local law enforcement agencies, including investigations of illicit money laundering. In recognition of this need, the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council is created within the department. The council shall serve in an advisory capacity to the department.
(2) MEMBERSHIP.The council shall consist of 14 members, as follows:
(a) The Attorney General or a designate.
(b) A designate of the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement.
(c) The Secretary of Corrections or a designate.
(d) The Secretary of Juvenile Justice or a designate.
(e) The Commissioner of Education or a designate.
(f) The president of the Florida Network of Victim/Witness Services, Inc., or a designate.
(g) The policy coordinator in the Public Safety Unit of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budgeting, or a designate.
(h) The Chief Financial Officer, or a designate.
(i) Six members appointed by the Governor, consisting of two sheriffs, two chiefs of police, one medical examiner, and one state attorney or their designates.

The Governor, when making appointments under this subsection, must take into consideration representation by geography, population, ethnicity, and other relevant factors to ensure that the membership of the council is representative of the state at large. Designates appearing on behalf of a council member who is unable to attend a meeting of the council are empowered to vote on issues before the council to the same extent the designating council member is so empowered.

(3) TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP; OFFICERS; COMPENSATION; STAFF.
(a) Members appointed by the Governor shall be appointed for terms of 2 years. The other members are standing members of the council. In no event shall a member serve beyond the time he or she ceases to hold the office or employment which was the basis for appointment to the council. In the event of a vacancy, an appointment to fill the vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term.
(b) The Legislature finds that the council serves a legitimate state, county, and municipal purpose and that service on the council is consistent with a member’s principal service in a public office or employment. Membership on the council does not disqualify a member from holding any other public office or being employed by a public entity, except that no member of the Legislature shall serve on the council.
(c) The members of the council shall elect a chair and a vice chair every 2 years, to serve for a 2-year term. As deemed appropriate, other officers may be elected by the members.
(d) Members of the council or their designates shall serve without compensation but are entitled to reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. Reimbursements made pursuant to this paragraph may be paid from either the Violent Crime Investigative Emergency and Drug Control Strategy Implementation Account within the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund or from other appropriations provided to the department by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act.
(e) The department shall provide the council with staff necessary to assist the council in the performance of its duties.
(4) MEETINGS.The council must meet at least annually. Additional meetings may be held when determined by the department and the chair. A majority of the members of the council constitutes a quorum. Council meetings may be conducted by conference call, teleconferencing, or similar technology.
(5) DUTIES OF COUNCIL.Subject to funding provided to the department by the Legislature, the council shall provide advice and make recommendations, as necessary, to the executive director of the department.
(a) The council may advise the executive director on the feasibility of undertaking initiatives which include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Establishing a program that provides grants to criminal justice agencies that develop and implement effective violent crime prevention and investigative programs and which provides grants to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of drug control, criminal gang, and illicit money laundering investigative efforts or task force efforts that are determined by the council to significantly contribute to achieving the state’s goal of reducing drug-related crime, that represent significant criminal gang investigative efforts, that represent a significant illicit money laundering investigative effort, or that otherwise significantly support statewide strategies developed by the Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council established under s. 397.333, subject to the limitations provided in this section. The grant program may include an innovations grant program to provide startup funding for new initiatives by local and state law enforcement agencies to combat violent crime or to implement drug control, criminal gang, or illicit money laundering investigative efforts or task force efforts by law enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, initiatives such as:
a. Providing enhanced community-oriented policing.
b. Providing additional undercover officers and other investigative officers to assist with violent crime investigations in emergency situations.
c. Providing funding for multiagency or statewide drug control, criminal gang, or illicit money laundering investigative efforts or task force efforts that cannot be reasonably funded completely by alternative sources and that significantly contribute to achieving the state’s goal of reducing drug-related crime, that represent significant criminal gang investigative efforts, that represent a significant illicit money laundering investigative effort, or that otherwise significantly support statewide strategies developed by the Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council established under s. 397.333.
2. Expanding the use of automated biometric identification systems at the state and local levels.
3. Identifying methods to prevent violent crime.
4. Identifying methods to enhance multiagency or statewide drug control, criminal gang, or illicit money laundering investigative efforts or task force efforts that significantly contribute to achieving the state’s goal of reducing drug-related crime, that represent significant criminal gang investigative efforts, that represent a significant illicit money laundering investigative effort, or that otherwise significantly support statewide strategies developed by the Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council established under s. 397.333.
5. Enhancing criminal justice training programs that address violent crime, drug control, illicit money laundering investigative techniques, or efforts to control and eliminate criminal gangs.
6. Developing and promoting crime prevention services and educational programs that serve the public, including, but not limited to:
a. Enhanced victim and witness counseling services that also provide crisis intervention, information referral, transportation, and emergency financial assistance.
b. A well-publicized rewards program for the apprehension and conviction of criminals who perpetrate violent crimes.
7. Enhancing information sharing and assistance in the criminal justice community by expanding the use of community partnerships and community policing programs. Such expansion may include the use of civilian employees or volunteers to relieve law enforcement officers of clerical work in order to enable the officers to concentrate on street visibility within the community.
(b) The full council shall:
1. Receive periodic reports from regional violent crime investigation and statewide drug control strategy implementation coordinating teams which relate to violent crime trends or the investigative needs or successes in the regions, including discussions regarding the activity of significant criminal gangs in the region, factors, and trends relevant to the implementation of the statewide drug strategy, and the results of drug control and illicit money laundering investigative efforts funded in part by the council.
2. Maintain and use criteria for the disbursement of funds from the Violent Crime Investigative Emergency and Drug Control Strategy Implementation Account or any other account from which the council may disburse proactive investigative funds as may be established within the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund or other appropriations provided to the Department of Law Enforcement by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act. The criteria shall allow for the advancement of funds to reimburse agencies regarding violent crime investigations as approved by the full council and the advancement of funds to implement proactive drug control strategies or significant criminal gang investigative efforts as authorized by the Drug Control Strategy and Criminal Gang Committee or the Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee. Regarding violent crime investigation reimbursement, an expedited approval procedure shall be established for rapid disbursement of funds in violent crime emergency situations.
(c) As used in this section, “significant criminal gang investigative efforts” eligible for proactive funding must involve at a minimum an effort against a known criminal gang that:
1. Involves multiple law enforcement agencies.
2. Reflects a dedicated significant investigative effort on the part of each participating agency in personnel, time devoted to the investigation, and agency resources dedicated to the effort.
3. Reflects a dedicated commitment by a prosecuting authority to ensure that cases developed by the investigation will be timely and effectively prosecuted.
4. Demonstrates a strategy and commitment to dismantling the criminal gang via seizures of assets, significant money laundering and organized crime investigations and prosecutions, or similar efforts.

The council may require satisfaction of additional elements, to include reporting criminal investigative and criminal intelligence information related to criminal gang activity and members in a manner required by the department, as a prerequisite for receiving proactive criminal gang funding.

(6) DRUG CONTROL STRATEGY AND CRIMINAL GANG COMMITTEE.
(a) The Drug Control Strategy and Criminal Gang Committee is created within the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council, consisting of the following council members:
1. The Attorney General or a designate.
2. The designate of the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement.
3. The secretary of the Department of Corrections or a designate.
4. The director of the Office of Planning and Budgeting in the Executive Office of the Governor or a designate.
5. The state attorney, the two sheriffs, and the two chiefs of police, or their designates.
(b) Subject to funding provided to the department by the Legislature, the committee shall review and approve all requests for disbursement of funds from the Violent Crime Investigative Emergency and Drug Control Strategy Implementation Account within the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund and from other appropriations provided to the department by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act. An expedited approval procedure shall be established for rapid disbursement of funds in violent crime emergency situations. Committee meetings may be conducted by conference call, teleconferencing, or similar technology.
(c) Those receiving any proactive funding provided by the council through the committee shall report the results of the investigations to the council once the investigation has been completed. The committee shall also require ongoing status reports on ongoing investigations using such findings in its closed sessions and may require a recipient to return all or any portion of unexpended proactive funds to the council.
(7) REPORTS.The council shall report annually on its activities, on or before December 30 of each calendar year, to the executive director, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairs of the Senate and House committees having principal jurisdiction over criminal law. Comments and responses of the executive director to the report are to be included.
(8) VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION REVIEW COMMITTEE.
(a) The Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee is created within the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council, consisting of the statewide prosecutor or a state attorney, a sheriff, a chief of police, and the designee of the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement. The committee shall be appointed from the membership of the council by the chair of the council after the chair has consulted with the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement. Committee members shall meet in conjunction with the meetings of the council or at other times as required by the department and the chair. The committee meetings may be conducted by conference call, teleconferencing, or similar technology.
(b) Subject to funding provided to the department by the Legislature, the committee shall:
1. Maintain and use criteria for disbursing funds to reimburse law enforcement agencies for costs associated with providing victim and witness temporary protective or temporary relocation services.
2. Review and approve or deny, in whole or in part, all reimbursement requests submitted by law enforcement agencies.
(c) The lead law enforcement agency providing victim or witness protective or temporary relocation services pursuant to the provisions of s. 914.25 may submit a request for reimbursement to the Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee in a format approved by the committee. The lead law enforcement agency shall submit such reimbursement request on behalf of all law enforcement agencies that cooperated in providing protective or temporary relocation services related to a particular criminal investigation or prosecution. As part of the reimbursement request, the lead law enforcement agency must indicate how any reimbursement proceeds will be distributed among the agencies that provided protective or temporary relocation services.
(d) The committee, in its discretion, may use funds available to the committee to provide all or partial reimbursement to the lead law enforcement agency for such costs, or may decline to provide any reimbursement.
(9) CONFIDENTIALITY; EXEMPTED PORTIONS OF COUNCIL MEETINGS AND RECORDS.
(a) The Legislature finds that during limited portions of the meetings of the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council it is necessary that the council be presented with and discuss details, information, and documents related to active criminal investigations or matters constituting active criminal intelligence, as those concepts are defined by s. 119.011. These presentations and discussions are necessary for the council to make its funding decisions as required by the Legislature. The Legislature finds that to reveal the contents of documents containing active criminal investigative or intelligence information or to allow active criminal investigative or active criminal intelligence matters to be discussed in a meeting open to the public negatively impacts the ability of law enforcement agencies to efficiently continue their investigative or intelligence gathering activities. The Legislature finds that information coming before the council that pertains to active criminal investigations or intelligence should remain confidential and exempt from public disclosure. The Legislature finds that the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council may, by declaring only those portions of council meetings in which active criminal investigative or active criminal intelligence information is to be presented or discussed closed to the public, assure an appropriate balance between the policy of this state that meetings be public and the policy of this state to facilitate efficient law enforcement efforts.
(b) The Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council shall be considered a “criminal justice agency” within the definition of s. 119.011(4).
(c)1. The Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council may close portions of meetings during which the council will hear or discuss active criminal investigative information or active criminal intelligence information, and such portions of meetings shall be exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution, provided that the following conditions are met:
a. The chair of the council shall advise the council at a public meeting that, in connection with the performance of a council duty, it is necessary that the council hear or discuss active criminal investigative information or active criminal intelligence information.
b. The chair’s declaration of necessity for closure and the specific reasons for such necessity shall be stated in writing in a document that shall be a public record and shall be filed with the official records of the council.
c. The entire closed session shall be recorded. The recording shall include the times of commencement and termination of the closed session, all discussion and proceedings, and the names of all persons present. No portion of the session shall be off the record. Such recording shall be maintained by the council.
2. Only members of the council, Department of Law Enforcement staff supporting the council’s function, and other persons whose presence has been authorized by the chair of the council shall be allowed to attend the exempted portions of the council meetings. The council shall assure that any closure of its meetings as authorized by this section is limited so that the general policy of this state in favor of public meetings is maintained.
(d) A tape recording of, and any minutes and notes generated during, that portion of a Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council meeting which is closed to the public pursuant to this section are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution until such time as the criminal investigative information or criminal intelligence information ceases to be active.
History.s. 1, ch. 93-204; s. 1, ch. 94-215; s. 2, ch. 95-161; s. 32, ch. 96-388; s. 2, ch. 97-52; s. 1, ch. 97-73; s. 1, ch. 97-302; s. 9, ch. 98-251; s. 1, ch. 2001-127; s. 1, ch. 2002-61; s. 1927, ch. 2003-261; s. 56, ch. 2004-335; s. 20, ch. 2008-238; s. 9, ch. 2011-51; s. 10, ch. 2013-116.