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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. 943.04
943.04 Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program; creation; investigative, forensic, and related authority.
(1) There is created a Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program within the Department of Law Enforcement. The program shall be supervised by personnel who shall be employed by the department upon the recommendation of the executive director. Such personnel shall supervise, direct, coordinate, and administer activities of the program which are assigned by the executive director.
(2)(a) In carrying out the investigative services of the Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program and under appropriate rules and regulations adopted by the department, upon written order of the Governor, or by direction of the Legislature acting by a concurrent resolution, and at the direction of the executive director, the department may investigate violations of any of the criminal laws of the state, and shall have authority to bear arms, make arrests and apply for, serve and execute search warrants, arrest warrants, capias, and other process of the court.
(b) Investigations may also be conducted in connection with the faithful execution and effective enforcement of the laws of the state with reference to organized crime, vice, racketeering, rioting, inciting to riot, and insurrection.
(c) The department may also engage in such other investigative activities as will aid local law enforcement officers in preventing or solving crimes and controlling criminal activity.
(d) All investigators employed by the department shall be considered law enforcement officers for all purposes. The executive director shall have the authority to designate the person occupying any appropriate position within the department as a law enforcement officer, if such person is qualified under the department’s personnel regulations relating to agents and is certified pursuant to s. 943.1395(1), and all persons thus employed by the department shall be considered law enforcement officers for all purposes and shall be entitled to the privileges, protection, and benefits of ss. 112.19, 121.051, 122.34, and 870.05.
(3) Whenever it shall appear to the department that there is cause for the prosecution of a crime, the department shall refer the evidence of such crime to the officials authorized to conduct the prosecution.
(4)(a) The department is authorized to establish regional violent crime investigation coordinating teams composed of persons including, but not limited to, forensic investigators and law enforcement officers from both state and local criminal justice agencies. The functions of a regional violent crime investigation coordinating team include:
1. Responding to violent crimes in a timely and comprehensive manner, utilizing analytic, forensic, investigative, and technical expertise and equipment to provide key support to local law enforcement agencies undertaking difficult violent crime investigations.
2. Facilitating communication and coordination among state and local criminal justice agencies, including facilitating and coordinating the use of state law enforcement resources for concentrated task force efforts in violent crime investigations constituting emergency situations within the region.
(b) Upon the request of a sheriff, a police chief, or other appropriate law enforcement administrator, the executive director may deploy a regional violent crime investigation team to assist a law enforcement agency in a violent crime investigation.
(5) In carrying out the services of the Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program and under appropriate rules and regulations adopted by the department, the department may:
(a) Adopt and recommend cooperative policies for coordinating the law enforcement work of all state, county, and municipal agencies that are responsible for law enforcement.
(b) Assist local law enforcement agencies by providing consultation, research, and planning assistance, training, and field technical services and engage in other activities to aid local law enforcement officers in preventing and solving crimes and controlling criminal activity.
(c) Provide forensic services to state, local, and other law enforcement agencies and criminal justice agencies and adopt policies, procedures, and standards for operating state-operated crime laboratories.
(6)(a) In furtherance of the duties and responsibilities of the inspector general under s. 944.31, if the Department of Law Enforcement is conducting an investigation or assisting in the investigation of an injury to or death of an inmate which occurs while the inmate is under the custody or control of the Department of Corrections, the department is authorized to, before the initiation of a criminal proceeding relating to such injury or death, issue in writing and serve upon the Department of Corrections an investigative demand seeking the production of the inmate’s protected health information, medical records, or mental health records as specified in s. 945.10(1)(a). The department shall use such records for the limited purpose of investigating or assisting in an investigation of an injury to or death of an inmate for which the records were requested. Any records disclosed pursuant to this subsection remain confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution in accordance with s. 945.10(2).
(b) The investigative demand must be specific and limited in scope to the extent reasonably practicable in light of the purpose for which the protected health information or records are sought and must include a certification that:
1. The protected health information or records sought are relevant and material to a legitimate law enforcement inquiry;
2. There is a clear connection between the investigated incident and the inmate whose protected health information and records are sought; and
3. De-identified information could not reasonably be used.
History.s. 4, ch. 74-386; s. 5, ch. 76-247; s. 1, ch. 77-127; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 2, ch. 78-347; s. 34, ch. 79-8; s. 1, ch. 86-187; s. 2, ch. 89-3; s. 2, ch. 93-204; s. 2, ch. 94-215; s. 4, ch. 98-94; s. 9, ch. 2005-100; s. 1, ch. 2017-31.