The Orlando Chief of Police recently expressed his displeasure in the actions of a school resource officer. Reportedly, the chief apologized to two 6-year-old children and their parents after the officer arrested and handcuffed the children in two separate incidents. Strangely, there is no minimum age of jurisdiction in Florida, although there are steps to take before arresting children for alleged juvenile crimes.
According to reports, the children were arrested for misdemeanors, and one was properly booked and had a mug shot taken. Under Florida law, juveniles younger than 12 years can be arrested, but only if the arresting officer has a watch commander’s approval. The officer who arrested the children in these two instances did not have such authorization.
Reportedly, Florida is one of only a few U.S. states that do not have a minimum age of jurisdiction. In this case, the officer’s actions led to his suspension, which was later followed by his dismissal. The police chief also announced that the children would not be prosecuted. He promised to issue orders to prevent repetitions of such incidents that naturally left the families and the children traumatized and distressed.
The fact that the laws remain unchanged might concern parents in Florida, and it might be a good idea to keep in mind that the most sensible steps to take in these circumstances would be to secure the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Legal counsel with experience in dealing with cases that involve allegations of juvenile crimes can take over and make sure that no harm comes to the children. The lawyer can also inform the parents of any further legal steps they might be able to take.