Governor Rick Scott’s proposal to create a special counterterrorism unit in Florida – with $5.8 million in funding – today drew the support of two powerful groups: The Florida League of Cities, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association.
The governor wants to add 46 new counterterrorism agents in regional centers around the state, and he’s making the concept one of his core budget priorities for the upcoming session. Scott plans another tour stop in Fort Myers at noon tomorrow to highlight the proposal again.
Florida suffered one of the worst terrorist attacks in American history with the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and more than 50 others suffering serious injuries. Scott took on a prominent role in the aftermath of the attack, and this latest proposal has been heavily influenced by his experience in Orlando. He has also proposed a 5 percent pay increase for more than 4,000 law enforcement personnel across the state.
League of Cities President Susan Haynie, who is mayor of Boca Raton, and Florida Police Chiefs Association President Albert “Butch” Arenal, police chief of Coconut Creek, said the counterterrorism squad would help protect Floridians by effectively coordinating law enforcement resources across Florida.
Mayor Haynie and Chief Arenal issued the following statement in support:
“The majority of Florida’s 20 million residents live in our cities, towns, and villages, and our municipalities face the constant threat of being targeted by terrorist acts. Governor Scott’s plan will institute a dedicated team of highly skilled, well-trained, and resolute experts whose sole mission will be to address the modern scourge of terrorism. This smart, forward-thinking, and unfortunately necessary proposal represents a cost-effective way to provide Floridians with a measure of assurance that their public servants are doing everything possible to protect them. We applaud the Governor’s leadership in advocating for these 46 agents and analysts, and we urge the Legislature to help protect the people of our state, not on the basis of what this costs but because of what it likely will save lives.”