Volusia County

Governor Signs Bill Giving Beach Law Enforcement Duties to VSO


A new bill has been signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis changing the way law enforcement is handled at the beach. HB 1595, titled the Law Enforcement Operations bill, was written to amend the way county-level sheriff's offices operate in Florida.

The most immediate effect of the bill will be to transfer the duties of law enforcement operations on Volusia County beaches from Volusia County Beach Safety to the Volusia Sheriff's Office. Already Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who has been pushing for the change for some time, has commended the legislation.

A transition has been and continues to be carried out by Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald, along with his staff and senior personnel. Volusia Beach Safety will still have a role in ensuring a safe experience for beachgoers, but law enforcement will now be out of their hands.

According to a release from the VSO this week, Volusia Beach Safety will now be tasked to 'manage the beach and provide lifeguard and emergency medical services to beachgoers'. Some members of Beach Safety have resisted the change in the buildup to HB 1595's passage.

"We’re committed to improving public safety, and we have a proven track record of doing just that, including on the beach, where the Sheriff’s Office is routinely called in to handle major law enforcement incidents and investigations," Chitwood said on the matter earlier this year.