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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill that bans HOA restrictions on police vehicles

Posted: 6:33 PM, Feb 21, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-24 03:18:31-05
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CLEARWATER, Fla — Law enforcement officers in Florida are now allowed to park their work vehicles in their driveways, despite what HOA has to say about it.

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed S.B. 476 -- the law enforcement vehicles law -- which protects law enforcement officers from being told by their HOA they can't park their work vehicles in their own driveways.

This comes after ABC Action News reported the story back in August of 2019.

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Holiday Isles Management is the company that manages the HOA. They told ABC Action News in October 2019 the company can make recommendations and consult for the HOA, but they say final decisions lie with the HOA's board.

The HOA of Eastlake Woodlands sent the Clearwater police officer and her husband a letter that threatened them with violation costs if they didn't stop parking a marked police cruiser in their driveway.

The family told the HOA they were grandfathered in by a former board president but the HOA did not recognize that letter at first. After ABC Action News reported on the story twice, the HOA changed its tune and decided to honor the grandfather letter but told the family if they sell the house, they must inform the next owners of the HOA rules.

"My gut reaction was 'this can’t be real, this flies in the face of common sense,'” Chris Sprowls, a House Rep. for District 65, previously told ABC Action News.

Sprowls posted about it to Facebook and linked our article saying it’s time to clarify the law. Ed Hooper, State Senator in District 60, agreed.

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"Having that visible deterrent in plain sight — if I were someone who was looking to [commit a crime] that, it would certainly tell me like maybe stay out of this neighborhood,” Hooper previously told ABC Action News.

"It’s a waste of a lot of peoples time and it’s beyond silly." Dan Parri, a family friend of the officer involved. But he says it needs to be done because he doesn't want this to happen ever again.

The Clearwater police chief, Dan Slaughter, previously told ABC Action News it's crucial officers get take-home cars because they need to be able to respond from anywhere at a moments notice.

"A car is not a perk," he told ABC Action News in October. "It's part of our emergency strategy."

He found out about the issue back in August -- months later he's thankful to see lawmakers tackle the issue on a state level.

"Even in law-enforcement we have a rule that if you misuse laws or authority then you lose it. And I think that’s what really happened here," he told ABC Action News in October.