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To Bring Florida’s Justice System ‘Into the 21st Century,’ New Safety & Justice Task Force Will Travel the State Gathering Ideas from Local Leaders, Law Enforcement, and Victim Advocates

The Florida Democratic Party is proud to announce the creation of the Safety & Justice Task Force, chaired by State Attorney Andrew Warren of Hillsborough County. The mission of the Task Force is to develop common sense solutions around criminal justice and police reform that improve safety for Florida families and respect the rights of every citizen. From addressing violent crime to utilizing treatment for offenders who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse, to improving law enforcement training and accountability, Florida needs a statewide conversation on how we build a better, more effective criminal justice system.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz said, “Our state is brimming with ideas to modernize our justice system and improve safety for families, while increasing transparency and cutting down waste. This task force will gather those forward-thinking ideas and build them into policies that will make a positive difference for all Floridians.” Chair Diaz added, “Andrew Warren has a strong record of finding innovative ways to make our neighborhoods safer and our system more fair and effective—he is clearly the right leader for this statewide effort.”

The Safety & Justice Task Force will be composed of five members and chaired by State Attorney Warren. These leaders will travel the state, meeting with local communities, small businesses, law enforcement leaders, victim advocates, and faith leaders to discuss and develop policy regarding Florida’s criminal justice system. The goal is to draft legislative proposals and model ordinances, then work with local and state-level leaders to implement them to improve the effectiveness and fairness of law enforcement agencies, prosecutor’s offices, and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Three expected areas of focus will be:

• Reducing crime by tackling the root causes of criminal behavior and minimizing recidivism
• Prioritizing prosecuting the greatest threats to communities, with alternatives to put low-level offenders back on the right path
• Building stronger bonds between law enforcement and the communities they serve

Since being elected State Attorney for Hillsborough County in 2016, Warren has reformed Hillsborough’s criminal justice system and become a state and national leader on criminal justice reform. From expanding resources that steer first-time juvenile offenders away from the system to ending the criminalization of poverty that results from driver’s license suspensions to ensuring domestic abusers are disarmed, Warren has implemented practical solutions that maximize the safety of every family and justice for every resident. Moreover, he is a statewide leader on the use of deadly force by law enforcement. His office’s reports on those incidents provide a level of transparency that has helped set the standard for effective and responsible law enforcement.

“I am proud to join in this effort with the Florida Democratic Party. This is about engaging with our communities all over Florida and helping our leaders deliver a 21st Century approach to justice—an approach that reduces crime through evidence-based policies and community-focused law enforcement,” Warren said. “We have made progress in Hillsborough County by having conversations that break down community silos and connect people from different walks of life. By applying this framework to other jurisdictions, we can deliver a plan that will move Florida forward for all our families.”

The remaining four members of the Safety & Justice Task Force will be announced in the coming weeks. The Task Force will begin planning proposals and holding discussions in local communities shortly thereafter—more details and exact dates and times will be announced. The group expects to provide a report to the Florida Democratic Party and the public in the summer of 2022.

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