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General Information About FDLE

To promote public safety and strengthen domestic security by providing services in partnership with local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies to prevent, investigate, and solve crimes while protecting Florida’s citizens and visitors.

Organization of the Department

FDLE is headed by a Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor, approved by the Cabinet and confirmed by the Senate. FDLE employs about 1,900 members statewide who work at the headquarters in Tallahassee or one of seven Regional Operations Centers (ROCs). Its annual budget is approximately $300 million and its responsibilities are clearly articulated in Chapter 943, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 11, Florida Administrative Code.
The members of FDLE are guided by four fundamental values as they respond to the needs of Florida’s citizens and criminal justice community: Service, Integrity, Respect, and Quality. FDLE is one of the few state law enforcement agencies in the country to have earned triple accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors / Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) and the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA).
FDLE is structured to deliver services in the following five program areas. Additional information about the areas is contained in the Statement of Agency Organization:

  • Executive Direction and Business Support;
  • Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science;
  • Florida Capitol Police;
  • Criminal Justice Information Services; and
  • Criminal Justice Professionalism.

History of the Department
In 1967, the Florida Legislature merged the duties and responsibilities of several state criminal justice organizations to create the Bureau of Law Enforcement. Bringing together the resources of the Florida Sheriffs Bureau, the State Narcotics Bureau and the law enforcement activities of the Anti-Bookie Squad of the Attorney General’s Office, the original Bureau of Law Enforcement had 94 positions and a $1.5 million budget for its first year of operation. The Bureau was headed by a Commissioner who reported to a board comprised of the Governor, specified members of the Cabinet, two Sheriffs and one Chief of Police. The agency was comprised of five divisions: Administration, Intelligence and Investigation, Technical Services, Administrative Intelligence, and Planning and Research.
As a result of Florida governmental restructuring in July 1969, the Bureau became the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or FDLE, the name the agency bears to this day. As a department of the Executive Branch of government, FDLE was headed by the Governor and Cabinet. The FDLE Commissioner was appointed by the Governor with the approval of three members of the Cabinet and subject to confirmation by the Senate. At the time, the department consisted of four divisions – Operations, Administrative Intelligence, Criminal Identification and Information, and Training and Inspection.
Throughout its history, the department has restructured and streamlined service delivery and maximized the use of technology in its business operations to meet and exceed the expectations of its customers. The department is committed to operating as a performance driven organization, ensuring that each member holds the highest level of responsibility, and establishing accountability at every level of the agency.
In 1994, the Florida Legislature passed the Government Performance and Accountability Act, mandating that state agencies base their budgets on performance outcome measures. FDLE embraced the concept as an opportunity to “do business a better way,” and, in 1996, became the first agency in Florida to be fully funded under Performance Based Budgeting (PBB) guidelines. That same year, FDLE developed the Blueprint For Continued Success calling for an organizational transition to a more integrated, horizontal structure designed to provide increased contact with both customers and members. Under the old, traditional, “pyramidal” structure, each division had specific tasks and delivered specialized services. Many statewide services were offered exclusively through the Headquarters Office, and Special Agents in Charge throughout the state reported to a Tallahassee-based Director. 
FDLE's Blueprint for Continued Success placed more focus on a regional approach. The agency turned in a new direction, permanently decentralizing many key services, previously only offered through headquarters, and providing them through the seven, newly-defined ROCs. They assumed responsibility for human resource and business functions and began to offer information systems support, training and increased analytical assistance directly to the surrounding region. The restructuring placed authority and accountability at the regional level, with members of the ROCs reporting to a Regional Director (Special Agent in Charge) instead of headquarters. The traditional investigative role of the ROCs expanded significantly, allowing them to offer more specialized assistance. The ROCs became multi-functioning facilities, offering a much wider array of FDLE’s services and providing localized “one stop shopping” for customers statewide.
In July 1990, FDLE was the first state law enforcement agency in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), and in October 1996, FDLE was the first statewide law enforcement agency to be accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA). The agency has received joint reaccredited from both CALEA and CFA each subsequent three-year accreditation period, including attaining Gold Standard CALEA accreditation in 2015. Also in 1990, FDLE received initial accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) and has achieved reaccreditation from that organization or, more currently, the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), every subsequent reaccreditation period since.
In the late 1990s, FDLE's Executive Policy Board (EPB) was formally organized. Comprised of Program Directors, Regional Special Agents in Charge and other headquarters leadership, EPB provides a frequent forum for the review of department-wide issues and policy-level decision making (later renamed Command Staff in 2006). In 1996, EPB developed and adopted FDLE’s agency values of Service, Integrity, Respect and Quality, institutionalizing the ideals that serve as the very foundation of FDLE. 

In 1997, FDLE initiated performance contracts for all of its supervisory members and all members were included in the performance workplan system in 1998. Linked to the achievement of agency-wide goals, individual workplans contain quantifiable and measurable expectations for each member. Impressed with FDLE’s performance evaluation system, in FY 99-00 the Legislature funded FDLE with a unique performance pay plan.
The turn of the century saw several new responsibilities for FDLE. In 2001, the Department of Community Affairs’ Office of Criminal Justice Grants was legislatively transferred to FDLE. Following the events of September 11, 2001, FDLE saw a fundamental change to its core mission, assuming responsibility as the state’s domestic security coordinator and partnering with Florida Sheriffs to lead the state’s seven Regional Domestic Security Task Forces. The Florida Capitol Police, with its responsibility for the providing law enforcement and security services to the state Capitol, was legislatively transferred to FDLE in 2002.
On July 1, 2011, the Attorney General’s Child Predator Cyber Crime Unit merged with FDLE’s Florida Computer Crime Center (FC3) as a result of the passage of House Bill 5401. A total of 19 positions transferred from the Attorney General’s Office, all of which were dedicated exclusively to investigating online child exploitation cases. In 2012, FDLE expanded its cyber investigations by assigning cyber/high-tech crime squads in each FDLE region and relocating cyber analysts into the Florida Fusion Center in Tallahassee. FDLE also created the Office of Cyber High-Tech Crime in headquarters to oversee statewide cyber operations, communications and training, electronic surveillance support and digital forensics. The Office of Cyber High-Tech Crime and the FC3 were later combined to create the FDLE Cybercrime Office.

In 2015, the department reorganized headquarters’ investigative and intelligence resources to better serve internal and external customers. The Florida Intelligence Center and Florida Fusion Center were moved under the Office of Statewide Intelligence to specifically address the need for a preemptive response to the state’s varied criminal elements and trends and improve intelligence leadership statewide. And the Office of Statewide Investigative Services was created to provide consistent and coordinated expertise regarding various investigative functions statewide such as Mutual Aid, Aviation, Child Abduction Response Teams, Cyber High Tech Crime, Missing Persons and Sex Offender/Career Offender registration and enforcement. 
The department began employing social media in 2011 to enhance communication, collaboration and information exchange with the public through a single, centralized Facebook page, @FDLEpage, that serves as the official government page for the department. In 2016, the department began social media communication through a single, centralized Twitter account, @FDLEpio. Social media provides a valuable tool to assist the department and members in meeting community outreach, problem-solving, investigative, crime prevention and related objectives. 

The 2017 Florida Legislature criminalized certain terrorism-related activities with the passage of House Bill 457. The legislation provided Florida law enforcement authorities with a series of tools to help prevent future terrorist activities. In addition, the legislature appropriated 46 new full-time positions to create counterterrorism squads in each of the department’s seven regions. The squads enhance domestic security prevention efforts via increased intelligence collection and sharing and increase participation in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.