What is FDLE?

Question: What is FDLE?

Answer: FDLE is the abbreviation for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Simply put, think of FDLE as being the state police agency for the State of Florida, which is different and completely separate from the Florida Highway Patrol, as they are two different agencies.

FDLE employs approximately 1,700 people, with offices throughout the state. Although their headquarters are located in Tallahassee, there are regional offices in Pensacola, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Fort Myers and Miami. The agency has a budget of more than $300 million, yet few people outside of the Criminal Justice field interact with FDLE on a regular basis.

FDLE was established in 1967. Today's mission statement is, "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." Of course, the execution of its duties is much more complex.

Within the Criminal Justice field, FDLE is similar to what one might think of when watching CSI on television. It is the FDLE who has crime laboratories throughout the state which test illegal drugs to confirm the substance present, analyze DNA or hair particles, work fingerprints and blood, etc. Likewise, FDLE oversees the process of having one's criminal record sealed or expunged. Having said, FDLE has more duties than simply these, as it covers things which many do not realize in our state.

FDLE is divided into five areas, including the Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. They protect our Governor, similar to the United States Secret Service with the US President. Likewise, FDLE will provide security for the Florida Supreme Court Justices.

FDLE has earned accreditation by the National Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, and the American Society for Crime Lab Directors. The agency is arguably our highest regarded law enforcement agency with respect to professionalism and integrity, the agency whom gets called-in when local law enforcement needs a helping hand for something too complex, or crimes covering multiple counties within Florida. Since September 11th, 2001, FDLE has helped to protect our state from terrorism. .There are currently seven Regional Domestic Security Task Forces strategically located throughout our great state.

Likewise, when a law enforcement agency is involved in a shooting, or perhaps is alleged to have committed wrongdoing, it is FDLE who will investigate the law enforcement agency at issue. As some might say, FDLE polices the police within our state. The agency also offers an online record of individuals currently incarcerated in the Department of Corrections, or being supervised by the Department of Corrections. They also have a database of Registered Sex Offenders, something which everyone should view to check their neighborhood for such, especially those with children or single females living without roommates.

FDLE can help all of us stay safe, while achieving justice in our Court system. Their work ensures crimes are proven beyond a reasonable doubt with accurate evidence, and in the alternative, can exonerate the innocent with their criminal laboratory testing abilities. Should you or a loved one have a criminal case which involves FDLE experts, call my office today at (850) 215-0628.