Florida Gov. Rick Scott proposes $5.8M funding for counterterrorism efforts

Published: January 06, 2017

FLORIDA STATE DEPARTMENTS (FLORIDA)GovernorIntelligenceJustice/Public Safety & Homeland SecurityProfessional ServicesState Intelligence Fusion Centers

Rattled by the "devastation" of the June 12 Pulse nightclub terror attack, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday said he will ask for $5.8 million in the state's 2017-2018 budget to hire more counterterrorism agents for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

At a press conference at Orlando's FDLE headquarters, Scott said the money would add 46 new counterterrorism agents to be spread throughout the operation's seven regions. Scott said he was inspired to seek the funding after the Pulse shooting.

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said the agents' sole focus would be to improve the gathering of Florida's terror-related intelligence and to investigate terror-related crimes. Currently, the FDLE has some special agents devoted to anti-terrorism work, but the operation "does not have the resources" it needs to be fully functional, Swearingen said.

Of the 46 positions, one would be a supervisor, about 38 will be special agents in the field investigating terrorism leads and the others would work as data analysts.

The agents would form counterterrorism squads and sent to all seven FDLE regions in the state. Swearingen said some would be sent to work with FBI bureaus, as well. They would be working with local, state and federal intelligence operations, Scott said.