2017 Florida Statutes
(1) The sheriff may not terminate a regularly appointed deputy sheriff for exercising lawful off-duty political rights.
(2) The review board shall be utilized to make the determination as to whether or not the termination of a deputy sheriff was politically or discriminatorily motivated.
(3)(a) A deputy sheriff must make a request for a hearing in writing to the deputy sheriff’s immediate supervisor within 10 working days after the deputy sheriff receives notice of termination for off-duty political activity. The request must contain a brief statement of the matters to be considered by the review board and the names of the two law enforcement officers selected to serve on the board.
(b) The immediate supervisor shall forward the request for hearing to the sheriff and the appropriate division commander without delay. The review board shall be empaneled and a hearing date scheduled within 10 working days of receipt. The rules of evidence applicable to administrative hearings under chapter 120 apply to the hearing.
(c) The sheriff has the burden of proving the appropriateness of the termination by the preponderance of evidence. The sheriff or the sheriff’s appointed representative must present evidence in support of the termination.
(d) The deputy sheriff has the right to be present, to present his or her case, to explain or defend his or her position, and to cross-examine each witness or complainant.
(e) The deputy sheriff has the right to be represented during the hearing by counsel or other representative of choice.
(f) The deputy sheriff shall not discuss the matter before the review board except through its chairperson.
(g) The sheriff may offer rebuttal evidence, and the review board may hear argument from both parties in support of the evidence presented.
(h) The chairperson of the review board shall, through the appropriate chain of command, give written notice to each witness of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
(i) The review board shall confine its deliberation to the evidence presented. The board shall have 10 working days within which to make its findings. The findings of the board are binding on the parties. If the board finds that action on appeal is justified, it may recommend an alternative action.
(j) A decision of the review board must be made by a majority vote of its members.
(k) Each complaint shall receive a separate finding and recommendation by a majority of the review board. Each finding shall take into consideration the seriousness of the complaint, any extenuating circumstances, and the tenure and past conduct record of the deputy sheriff. The board shall submit to the sheriff its written findings of fact and recommendations within 10 working days after the hearing.
(l) The sheriff shall notify the deputy sheriff of the final recommendations of the review board and the reasons therefor.
(m) If the sheriff’s action on appeal is not sustained, the deputy sheriff shall be reinstated without prejudice or penalty.
(n) All proceedings of the review board shall be recorded and retained by the Internal Affairs Bureau. Rest periods shall be duly noted and there shall be no unrecorded questions or statements by a party or witness. Recordings shall be properly marked and identified before filing.
History.—s. 7, ch. 94-143; s. 1329, ch. 95-147; s. 3, ch. 95-155.