Legislative committee to consider putting Capitol Police on patrol in downtown Tallahassee
Renovations to the Florida Capitol Complex are proceeding nicely, with the completion of the south side set for next month.

Florida Capitol complex
The PCB would expand the department’s jurisdiction to include several more state buildings and parking garages.

Downtown Tallahassee isn’t exactly safe.

Over the past few years, the Capitol has looked less like a shining example of everything Florida has to offer and more like a scene out of the first act of Death Wish. The streets are littered with trash, human waste and an increasingly aggressive — and sometimes violent — crowd of panhandlers and homeless.

And yes, they have been violent. A month ago, Tallahassee Police apprehended a mentally disturbed man accused of assaulting several people in the downtown area. In one instance, he punched a lobbyist in the face outside of the Governors Club. Police told that lobbyist the same man was suspected in a half-dozen other assaults.

That man was not an outlier. The risk is pervasive enough that many lobbyists and state employees aren’t comfortable walking alone to their car after work. Many people have pleaded with the city government to do something — anything — to help make the area near the Capitol safe. The response has been lackluster.

Now, the Legislature may step in.

The House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposed committee bill this week that would expand the boundaries of the Capitol Complex, giving the Capitol Police more authority to keep the area secure.

Currently, Capitol Police have jurisdiction over the Capitol Complex, defined in statute as the area bounded by Monroe, Jefferson, Duval and Gaines streets. Under the proposed bill (SAT 23-01), Capitol Police jurisdiction would expand eastward to Calhoun Street and westward to S. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The area bounded by Monroe Street, Gaines Street, Calhoun Street, and East Pensacola Street would be known as “Memorial Park.” The Holland Building, the Elliot Building, the R.A. Gray Building, and their associated parking garages fall within the new confines.

The bill will be heard when the committee meets at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Room 212 of the Knott Building.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Victroiya

    March 20, 2023 at 6:16 am


  • It’s Complicated

    March 20, 2023 at 7:44 am

    City of Tallahassee certainly had opportunity to address the problem.

    I wonder if this zone would supplant or supplement Tallahassee Police Department?

  • Des

    March 20, 2023 at 8:05 am

    They should expand their coverage and while many may not know or remember, they used to cover the downtown area that included all of the state buildings, parking lots and garage, prior to 9/11. At that time, Jeb Bush confined them to the Capitol Complex, with only protecting that small area becoming the priority. They even used to provide escorts for state employees to get to their cars safely after dark, one the time changed in the fall.

  • Iamanole2

    March 20, 2023 at 8:09 am

    Isn’t this the same Jim Crow being used in mississippi? Do none of you have any respect for America at all?

    • Keystone Keys

      March 20, 2023 at 11:23 am

      Go stand outside the Governors Club in Tallahassee so YOU can be punched in the face by the detritus of society.

  • Mayor Flintstone

    March 20, 2023 at 8:31 am

    Peter I thought we had a gentelman’s handshake agreement not to promote or even publically discuss Tallahassee’s secret and constant march to become the San Francisco/Los Angeles of Florida. This is NOT a good time to have let the cat out of the bag. Why Peter why oh why have you stabbed me politically in the back. We were so seceretly successfully far along in our Californication of Tallahassee too. We had recently trained our inner city homeless on street defication, harrassment of citizens, and soon were going to roll out a tent city in downtown Tallahassee. We have come too far to be disrespected by an insignaficant State wide highly respected publication like yours. The next call you receive will be from Lord Soros. I would not want to be you squriming, full of fear, and soiling your shorts as the mighty Lord Soros has the dredded Come To George talk with you.
    Tallahassee Mayor Flintstone

  • Keystone Keys

    March 20, 2023 at 11:24 am

    Go stand outside the Governors Club in Tallahassee so YOU can be punched in the face by the detritus of society.

  • Brian Wilcoxon

    March 20, 2023 at 11:52 am

    I run through downtown around a dozen times a month, on varying days and times. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve ever been stopped by anyone, and I think I’ve only felt threatened by someone once. (The man was obviously dealing with severe mental health issues.) I don’t doubt that there have been instances of unprovoked violence from certain individuals, but those are few and far between, and do not deter me in any way from normal behavior in and around downtown. I’ve never seen human waste anywhere remotely close to downtown, and I don’t really even remember seeing dog waste, for that matter. There is occasionally trash, but I see more of that in other residential and business areas.

    Tallahassee has a problem getting homes for people who need them, and providing them with the resources to remain in those homes. Those are not problems of policing, and seeing them as such only further stigmatizes the people at the center of this issue. Vehicles running red lights down Monroe pose a far greater threat to pedestrians than these non-existent “crowds of panhandlers and homeless.”

    • Mayor Flintstone

      March 20, 2023 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you Brian for running cover for us. Meet me down at the Brass Tapp after work for Happy Hour of course I’m buying!!!
      So there: you annoying folks on that legislative committee now clearly see your involvement in policeing Tallahassee is no longer needed or wanted thanks to Brian’s totally unsolicited comments. I take it we will put your error in thinking Tallahassee needs help from your Capitol “Police” to rest once and for all.
      Oh BTW Brian I was just reviewing our list of those allocated City cars on a 24 7 basis and your name popped up to test the newest Cadillac City vehicle for about a year or two.
      Thank you for your support Brian and I am taking this Mayoral communication as the end of Capitol Police involvement in our fair City.
      Yours truley,
      Mayor Flintstone of Tallahassee

  • Tee Tee Terezz

    March 20, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    This Mayor Flintstone dude sounds like he should be a Mayor in Tampa St. Pete or one of those liberal cities in our Broward County. I thought North Florida was full of mouth breathing knuckle dragging Red Knecks.

  • Mayor Flintstone

    March 21, 2023 at 7:02 am

    Now lets just everyone move on from this situation and kind of just let the whole thing slip out of our thoughts as if none of this ever happened. Now that me and my sweet man Brian have totally slapped down and ordered those annoying busy bodies on that legislative committee to back the *#@& off there is no need to publically beat this dead horse any longer.
    Fact is I won, the legislative busy body committee has lost and ran away. Those loosers are hiding from me in fear. Best of all we can just pretend as if none of this ever happened.
    “Hey my main man Brian, go ahead and order those tents, its OK to build our virtue signaling tent in that ally down by the Capitol. Lets call it Flintstone City or Bedrock”.

  • Thomas

    March 22, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    For those who concur with the author’s comments, I would ask that you traverse our downtown area on more than one occasion and offer an honest assessment of exceptions to what we all hope is a comfortable standard of aesthetic appearance and overall general safety and security. I would wager that your experience does not align to any degree with the nearly catastrophic conditions as described by the author.

  • V Smith

    March 23, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    Im in Tallahassee’s downtown often… I frequent its parks and restaurants particularly when Im hosting out-of-town guests. Are there some things I would improve for safety? Most certainly! However, those primarily involve the heavy flow of automobile traffic on Monroe Street between Gaines and Tennessee, the width of sidewalks, the use of plantings/bollards/lighting between moving traffic and pedestrians to make walking about safer.

    But as far as what is described as “typical conditions” above? No, I can’t say that has been my experience at all.

    I would love to see more activity between the Capitol and nearby businesses which could help Tallahassee in its very apparent push to revitalize its CBD! I would love to see state employees returned to the downtown (and not scattered around the city in those uninspired-looking brown buildings). As things begin to shape up around the Capitol complex and in the Cascades Park, Gaines Street… the state of Florida should take advantage of this moment to present it’s Capitol with more pride by constructing civic buildings that reflect upon its role as 3rd largest state in the USA.

    I welcome the added patrolling from the Capitol Police for sure. But I also think we can lobby for that without publishing false impressions on Tallahassee’s Downtown, which is no where close to conditions in many of Florida’s other major cities. The state of Florida needs to invest to improve upon and maintain the aesthetic and charm of its capital — plain and simple. I’d say Downtown Tallahassee has held up quite well for a community has endured a massive migration of employees to nondescript business parks and strip malls while the state has surplussed valuable downtown properties.

    Looks like a sleeping giant is waking up!

Comments are closed.


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