Tallahassee, FL – Florida has established a law prohibiting homeowners and cooperative associations from stopping law enforcement officers from parking their marked patrol vehicles outside their homes.
Under the new law, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) cannot establish or enforce bylaws prohibiting law enforcement officers from parking their marked patrol vehicles in any area where they would otherwise have a right to park.
The legislation applies to the homeowner, tenants, and to their guests.
Republican Senator Ed Hooper filed the bill after learning that a Clearwater police officer was facing hundreds of dollars in HOA-imposed fines for parking her marked patrol car in her own driveway in an East Lake Woodlands subdivision, Florida Politics reported.
Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson noted that law enforcement officers must always be ready to jump into action – even when they’re off duty – and that having their patrol vehicles at-the-ready helps make prompt responses to emergencies possible.
Patrol vehicles can be a visual deterrent for potential crimes, and can also act as a signal for people in need of emergency help.
Sheriff Adkinson told Florida Politics that a citizen once ran to the home of one of his deputies in the middle of the night because a child was choking to death, Florida Politics reported.
The deputy was able to save the child’s life, the sheriff said.
“We like our deputies and our police officers to be visible members of the community and it’s part of that currency of trust,” he told Florida Politics.
Hooper, a retired firefighter, thanked DeSantis for backing Florida’s law enforcement officers.
“This common-sense legislation that prevents HOA’s and Condo Assoc. from stopping a law enforcement officer from parking their official vehicle in their driveway will make every neighborhood a little bit safer and it costs the community zero,” Hooper told Florida Politics.
“I have received a tremendous amount of correspondence supporting this good bill. Common sense rules again and kudos to Gov. DeSantis and my colleagues in the Senate and House for unanimously approving SB 476,” Hooper added.
The law went into effect immediately, Florida Politics reported.