Another Rachel's Law Debate

Jan 20, 2015

Another legislative battle is brewing over Rachel’s Law.

Rachel Hoffman

A pair of lawmakers want to strengthen the legislation named after a Florida State University student who was slain in a 2008 drug sting that went horribly wrong.

Twenty three-year-old Rachel Hoffman was working undercover for the Tallahassee Police Department when she was killed. Her grieving parents demanded reforms in the way police use confidential informants.

But the law was watered down after police complained they would lose their best tool for catching drug and other suspects.

Representative Ray Pilon, a Republican from Sarasota, says his bill would only tighten up existing law.

“As a former law enforcement office myself, I think the general tenor of the bill is not to prohibit law enforcement from using this very valuable resource.”

One of the most controversial changes would force police to tell suspects they can call an attorney before becoming an informant.

Springfield Police Chief Philip Thorne says that would make it nearly impossible to recruit informants.

“That would create some issues for law enforcement officers trying to effectively develop confidential informants. So this would be an issue we would have to negotiate with Representative Pilon.

Police who violate the new guidelines would be subject to third-degree felony charges.