Florida Senate - 2022                                     SB 264
       By Senator Hooper
       16-00081A-22                                           2022264__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to firefighter inquiries and
    3         investigations; amending s. 112.81, F.S.; reordering
    4         and revising definitions; amending s. 112.82, F.S.;
    5         providing that firefighters have certain rights during
    6         an informal inquiry; providing that a firefighter may
    7         not be threatened with certain disciplinary action
    8         during an informal inquiry or interrogation; providing
    9         an effective date.
   11  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13         Section 1. Section 112.81, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   14  read:
   15         112.81 Definitions.—As used in this part:
   16         (3)(1) “Firefighter” means a person who is certified in
   17  compliance with s. 633.408 and who is employed solely within the
   18  fire department or public safety department of an employing
   19  agency as a full-time firefighter whose primary responsibility
   20  is the prevention and extinguishment of fires; the protection of
   21  life and property; and the enforcement of municipal, county, and
   22  state fire prevention codes and laws pertaining to the
   23  prevention and control of fires.
   24         (2) “Employing agency” means any municipality or the state
   25  or any political subdivision thereof, including authorities and
   26  special districts, which employs firefighters.
   27         (5)(3) “Informal inquiry” means a meeting by supervisory or
   28  management personnel with a firefighter about whom an allegation
   29  of misconduct has come to the attention of such supervisory or
   30  management personnel, the purpose of which meeting is to mediate
   31  a complaint or discuss the facts to determine whether a formal
   32  investigation should be commenced. The term does not include
   33  routine work-related discussions, such as safety sessions or
   34  normal operational fire debriefings.
   35         (4) “Formal investigation” means the process of
   36  investigation ordered by supervisory or management personnel to
   37  determine if, after the supervisory personnel have previously
   38  determined that the firefighter should shall be disciplined,
   39  reprimanded, suspended, or removed, during which the questioning
   40  of a firefighter is conducted for the purpose of gathering
   41  evidence of misconduct.
   42         (1)(5) “Administrative proceeding” means any nonjudicial
   43  hearing which may result in the recommendation, approval, or
   44  order of disciplinary action against, or suspension or discharge
   45  of, a firefighter.
   46         (6) “Interrogation” means the questioning of a firefighter
   47  by an employing agency in connection with a formal investigation
   48  or an administrative proceeding but does shall not include
   49  arbitration or civil service proceedings. The term does not
   50  include questioning during pursuant to an informal inquiry shall
   51  not be deemed to be an interrogation.
   52         Section 2. Section 112.82, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   53  read:
   54         112.82 Rights of firefighters.—Whenever a firefighter is
   55  subjected to an informal inquiry or interrogation, the inquiry
   56  or such interrogation must shall be conducted in accordance with
   57  pursuant to the terms of this section.
   58         (1) An The interrogation must shall take place at the
   59  facility where the investigating officer is assigned, or at the
   60  facility that which has jurisdiction over the place where the
   61  incident under investigation allegedly occurred, as designated
   62  by the investigating officer.
   63         (2) A No firefighter may not shall be subjected to
   64  interrogation without first receiving written notice in of
   65  sufficient detail of the formal investigation in order to
   66  reasonably apprise the firefighter of the nature of the
   67  investigation. The firefighter must shall be informed beforehand
   68  of the names of all complainants.
   69         (3) All interrogations must shall be conducted at a
   70  reasonable time of day, preferably when the firefighter is on
   71  duty, unless the importance of the interrogation or
   72  investigation is of such a nature that immediate action is
   73  required.
   74         (4) The firefighter under formal investigation must shall
   75  be informed of the name, rank, and unit or command of the
   76  officer in charge of the investigation, the interrogators, and
   77  all persons present during any interrogation.
   78         (5) Informal inquiries and interrogation sessions must
   79  shall be of reasonable duration, and the firefighter must shall
   80  be permitted reasonable periods for rest and personal
   81  necessities.
   82         (6) During an informal inquiry or interrogation, the
   83  firefighter may being interrogated shall not be subjected to
   84  offensive language; threatened with a transfer, suspension,
   85  dismissal, or other disciplinary action; or offered any
   86  incentive as an inducement to answer any questions.
   87         (7) A complete record of any interrogation must shall be
   88  made, and if a transcript of such interrogation is made, the
   89  firefighter under formal investigation is shall be entitled to a
   90  copy of the transcript without charge. Such record may be
   91  electronically recorded.
   92         (8) An employee or officer of an employing agency may
   93  represent the agency, and an employee organization may represent
   94  any member of a bargaining unit desiring such representation in
   95  any proceeding to which this part applies. If a collective
   96  bargaining agreement provides for the presence of a
   97  representative of the collective bargaining unit during
   98  investigations or interrogations, such representative shall be
   99  allowed to be present.
  100         (9) A No firefighter may not shall be discharged,
  101  disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority,
  102  transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or
  103  discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be
  104  threatened with any such treatment, as retaliation for or by
  105  reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights
  106  granted or protected by this part.
  107         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.