Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Department of Law Enforcement

Criminal Justice Professionalism Services

What is the purpose of the program?

The Criminal Justice Professionalism Division provides staff support to the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, and the Florida Accreditation Office. In addition, the professionalism division is responsible for the Criminal Justice Executive Institute, the Bureau of Professional Development, the Florida Alcohol Testing Program, training of sworn Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) personnel, and the Florida Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program.

What services does the program provide?

Staff supports the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. Established under s. 943.11, Florida Statutes, the commission is an independent policy making body that ensures that Florida's criminal justice officers are ethical, qualified, and well-trained. The commission is responsible for creating entry-level curricula and certification testing for criminal justice officers in Florida, establishing minimum standards for employment and certification, and revoking the certification of officers who fail to maintain these minimum standards of conduct. In Fiscal Year 2021-22, 6,331 prospective officers passed the basic professional certification examination compared to 7,655 prospective officers in the previous year. The passage rate (79%) in Fiscal Year 2021-22 was lower than the 81.6% passage rate in Fiscal Year 2020-21. The commission reported taking disciplinary action against 443 officers in Fiscal Year 2021-22, compared to 637 officers in Fiscal Year 2020-21.

What are the minimum qualifications to become a certified officer in Florida?

An individual must be at least 19 years of age to become a certified law enforcement officer or a certified correctional probation officer and must be at least 18 years of age to become a certified correctional officer. Additionally, the individual must be a citizen of the United States, not have been convicted of a felony or received a dishonorable discharge from the military, pass a physical exam, and have good moral character as determined by a background investigation. Certification as a law enforcement officer or correctional officer requires a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). Certification as a correctional probation officer requires a bachelor's degree. These standards and training requirements are explained in more detail on the FDLE website.

When can the Professional Compliance Section initiate a case against a certified officer?

The Professional Compliance Section of the Criminal Justice Professional Program will initiate an officer misconduct case in several situations in which an officer's compliance with the professional standards have come into question. For example, if the paperwork for an officer's termination of employment indicates that the officer was terminated for a violation of moral character standards or for a violation of law, or that the officer resigned or retired voluntarily while being investigated for such, the section may initiate a misconduct case. Similarly, if an agency's internal investigation indicates that an officer violated professional standards, and that officer remains employed, the section may initiate an investigation. Other triggers for the initiation of a misconduct investigation include the receipt of a signed verifiable complaint that contains specific allegations of non-compliance by an officer, the receipt of other information that an officer has been arrested, has violated other moral character standards, or has violated commission-ordered probation, or a request by the Governor for an investigation.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2023-24
Fund Dollars Positions


Confidentiality of Autopsy Reports of Minors. Chapter 2023-44, Laws of Florida, establishes the confidentiality of autopsy reports of minors killed by an act of domestic violence, expanded from photographs, videos, or audio recordings of an autopsy. Any custodian of these reports who willfully and knowingly violates the law by releasing them may be charged with a third degree felony.

Law Enforcement Recruitment, Training, and Pay Raise. Chapter 2022-23Laws of Florida, provides law enforcement agencies with additional tools to support the recruitment and retention of qualified officers by providing financial incentives, enhanced training, educational opportunities, and recognition. The law creates the Florida Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program, which covers tuition, fees, and eligible education expenses for trainees enrolled in law enforcement officer basic recruit training program for up to $1,000. The law increases the base salary for each county sheriff by $5,000. Further,  the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program provides a one-time bonus payment to newly employed law enforcement officers in Florida for up to $5,000. The 2022 General Appropriations Act increases the minimum salary of state law enforcement officers and troopers to $50,000 or additional 5%, whichever is greater. Law enforcement officers are required to receive training in health and wellness principles as part of their initial cortication training and continued employment training.  

Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Practices. The 2021 Florida Legislature passed Ch. 2021-241, Laws of Florida, which made several changes to requirements for the operations and standards of law enforcement and correctional agencies and training for law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and correctional probation officers. Specifically, the law requires that applicants for law enforcement or correctional employment must disclose by affidavit if they are the subject of any pending investigation by a local, state, or federal agency or entity for criminal, civil, or administrative wrongdoing and whether the applicant separated or resigned from previous criminal justice employment while under investigation. In regards to training, the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission must establish standards for the instruction of officers in the subject of use of force and each employing agency must develop policies in the subject of use of force. This must include the proportional use of force and alternatives to use of force, including de-escalation techniques. Beginning July 1, 2023, these standards must be included in every basic skills course required in order for a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer to obtain the officer’s initial certification. The law also requires agencies to develop and maintain policies regarding use of force investigations conducted when a law enforcement officer’s use of force results in the death of any person or the intentional discharge of a firearm that results in injury or death to any person. Law enforcement agencies must also report quarterly to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement data regarding use of force by the law enforcement officers employed by the agency that results in serious bodily injury, death, or discharge of a firearm at a person.

Use of Electronic Databases. The 2021 Florida Legislature passed Ch. 2021-129, Laws of Florida, which increases the maximum fine imposed, not to exceed $2,000, when a person uses or releases information contained in the Driver and Vehicle Information Database for a purpose not specifically authorized by law. Further, the law requires that the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission provide training on the authorized access to and use of personal identification information contained in electronic databases used by law enforcement in an official capacity. This training must be part of the curriculum required for initial law enforcement certification as part of the 40 hours of required instruction for continued employment.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
Publications, Criminal Justice Professionalism Services
Criminal Justice Agency Profile Survey Results
, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Drug Abuse Resistance Education, 2022 Annual Report, Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Professional Standards Unit 2022 Annual Report, Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Medical Examiners Commission 2021 Annual Report, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website

Websites of Interest
D.A.R.E. America

International Association Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training

Performance Information

Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Section 943.09, Florida Statutes

Whom do I contact for help?

Criminal Justice Professionalism Program, 850-410-8600