FL Law Enforcement Opposes Curbs On Informants


Rachel Hoffman, 23, was killed after going on an undercover drug buy for Tallahassee, Fl., police last spring. In the highly charged aftermath came a bill to create “Rachel’s Law.” The Miami Herald says the proposal has met opposition from law enforcement groups who say it is overreaching and one-size-fits all, if not unnecessary. An intense lobbying effort has defeated several aspects of the proposal that Hoffman’s parents say are critical toward sparing other lives, including barring anyone in a drug treatment program, like Rachel was, from going on undercover drug buys.

The struggle illustrates how emotional calls for reform can encounter a stark reality in the legislative process, where lawmakers try to balance competing interests. The bill is proceeding in a stripped-down form. The bank of lobbyists and law enforcement representatives in the room showed how difficult final enactment will be. ”It strikes the heart strings, but at the same time, you have to be able to step back from the emotion from a particular incident and try to decide from a policy perspective what’s best,” said Michael Ramage of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Rachel Hoffman, who went to Florida State University, agreed last April to become a police informant after officers found marijuana and ecstasy in her apartment. The bill establishes minimum standards that law enforcement groups must meet when dealing with confidential informants.

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