Andrew Widman Act, honoring slain officer, one step closer to law

— A bill drafted in reaction to the slaying of a Fort Myers Police officer is closer to becoming state law.

The Officer Andrew Widman Act passed the Florida House of Representatives unanimously on Wednedsday. Its companion bill, SB 300, is scheduled to be placed on a committee agenda.

The act, HB 89, would allow a judge to keep a defendant detained pending confirmation the person is not in violation of probation. The bill is a direct response to the death of Widman at the hands of Abel Arango, who was on felony probation when he abruptly shot the 30-year-old officer in downtown Fort Myers in July 2008.

One month earlier, Arango, 27, was in court on felony drug charges. When the judge failed to see Arango's probation in Collier, he released the defendant on bond. Arango was killed in the shootout with police following Widman's death.

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