History

Governor Bush signs Executive Order to place Capitol Police under the direction of The Florida Department of Law Enforcement The Capitol Police was created by the Florida Legislature as a plain clothes security force in 1973. First known as "Legislative Security" under the Florida Department of General Services (DGS), the first director, FHP Captain Nathan Sharron, had administrative offices in the Larson Building, which was then the DGS headquarters. The security operations office was located in a few small offices in the Senate Office Building. Legislative Security employed 20 members including security officers and a handful of plain clothes law enforcement officers known as special agents. In 1973, Capitol Police had the only Explosive Ordinance Devices Unit in the Big Bend area. In 1978, two years after the new Capitol building was completed, Legislative Security moved its operations and administrative offices into the new building.

In 1983, legislation changed the name from Legislative Security to the Division of Safety and Crime Prevention. The new mission brought forth the more highly visible uniformed law enforcement officer. Members were assigned to various state buildings, including the Capitol building, but it was not their primary responsibility. Expanded responsibilities included the Capitol Complex, state buildings in Leon County and other state facilities in 17 cities across the state known as Regional Service Centers. Beginning in 1985, the Division of Safety and Crime Prevention was mandated by the Legislature to provide training and safety courses to other state agencies at their request. They were also mandated to develop and conduct evacuation procedures for the Capitol.

In 1991, the Florida Legislature renamed the agency the Department of Management Services Division of Capitol Police.

As a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Governor Bush ordered Capitol Police to fall under the direction of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). FDLE provided Capitol Police with the direction of an established and respected police agency. Under FDLE, overall security at the Capitol was heightened, magnetometers and x-ray machines were used to screen all visitors and additional state law enforcement officers were assigned to the Capitol.

In 2002, the Florida Legislature passed HB 1407, which officially transferred the Capitol Police to FDLE. The sworn law enforcement officers located in the Regional Service Centers were relocated to Tallahassee. Today the primary responsibility of Capitol Police is to protect the security of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the members of the Cabinet, the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and those employees assigned to assist such state officials in the performance of their official duties, and to ensure their access to buildings and premises within the Capitol Complex. The Capitol Police also provide security and protection for other state officials, employees and visitors to the Capitol Complex.

The spring of 2003, marked the 30th anniversary of the Florida Capitol Police. From its early beginnings as Legislative Security, Capitol Police has evolved into a truly professional law enforcement organization. With a staff of highly trained and professional law enforcement officers, security officers, and support staff, Capitol Police will continue to meet and exceed our mission.

 

Past and Current Capitol Police Directors

Nathan Sharron
January 1973 – January 1983
James McPherson
January 1983 – July 1995
Timothy Kerns
July 1995 – February 1998
Terry Meek
March 1998 – July 2001
Scotty Sanderson
September 2001 – December 2003
Robert Ladner
January 2004 – June 2006
W. Dean Register
June 2006 - June 2007
Dennis Bustle
June 2007 – May 2013
Richard Swearingen
June 2013 – December 2014
Christopher Connell
December 2014 - Present