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Politics

FDLE Wants More Money to Stop 'Homegrown Violent Extremists'

October 2, 2019 - 6:00am
Rick Swearingen
Rick Swearingen

A project designed to detect “homegrown violent extremists and lone actors” before they attack is estimated to cost the Florida Department of Law Enforcement millions of dollars --- and agency officials want lawmakers to start paying for parts of it next year.

The agency is asking the Legislature for $3.6 million to support multiple parts of its “behavioral threat assessment” tool, which has been extolled by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen.

The money would cover the cost of “cellular phone analytics” and eight full-time senior crime intelligence analysts and provide a year’s worth of funding to run a new data analytics system that would eventually replace the department’s “antiquated” records system, according to the agency's 2020-2021 budget request filed in September.

Such a system, broadly described by the agency as being able to gather and analyze the “growing amount of information available for investigation,” is estimated to cost taxpayers $24 million over a five-year period.

The agency’s pitch will be considered by lawmakers during the 2020 legislative session, which starts in January. The proposal comes at the same time a Senate panel is looking into issues related to white nationalism and how to prevent mass violence in Florida.

In little more than three years, the state has been home to two of the nation's deadliest shootings. In June 2016, 49 people and a gunman died at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. In 2018, 17 students and faculty members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Together, the shootings also left 70 people injured.

“The nature of threats to Florida’s domestic security and public safety has evolved over recent years. Identifying and disrupting illicit operations is a significant challenge to traditional law enforcement practices,” according to the FDLE budget request.

Swearingen, the head of the agency, told a Senate panel last month that violent acts can frequently be traced back to methodical planners.

“They don’t snap. They decide,” he said. “Most plan their attacks, days, months, even years in advance.”

The law enforcement official also brushed off links between mental-health issues and gun violence, saying the history of assailants’ mental-health problems is “rarely the key” to violent acts.

In the budget request, officials noted DeSantis has asked the department to prioritize the development of the threat-assessment tool. The request says the model would increase support and collaboration with local law enforcement agencies and bolster “intelligence-led policing,” which the governor has backed as a solution to impede further violence.

The $3.6 million proposal is part of the state agency’s larger 2020-2021 budget request, which also asks for $1.5 million to expand the state Capitol police force.

Agency officials are requesting money to hire 10 more law-enforcement officers and to buy two explosive-detecting robots. 

The primary responsibility of Capitol police officers is to protect the legislative and executive branches of government and people who visit the Tallahassee complex each day.

Another request made by the agency would bolster its investigative force. The department wants $8.1. million to fill 90 positions that would include a combination of special agents, crime-lab analysts, criminal-justice information analysts and other positions, officials say.

"The absence of these positions will result in fewer investigative cases worked, delays in updated and correcting criminal history information and a resurgence in forensic evidence backlogs," the budget request says.

Comments

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Let those who support this pay for it and leave the taxpayer alone.

Antifa is a protected species, financed by George Soros, and shielded by the Deep State nationwide.

Imagine the King of England doing this during the American Revolution, where would we be today?

In the same place, most of the revolution was fought guerilla style. Only 3% of the American Colonials actually fought in the war. The English could not fight those who fought like "wild Indians". In fact it's the wild Indians the government fears most today. They are also called lone wolves, and domestic terrorist. We common Americans call them the militia.

Top of the homegrown terrorist list is Antifa.

Start with the violent fascist organization known as Antifa.

Antifa are a bunch of cowardly wannabees they seldom march without local police protection, and a wad of Soros cash in their pockets. They are masked because they are cowards who fear being identified when they come out of their mom's basement.

Hey, Shirley! "Antifa" is a shortened form of "ANTI- FASCIST"? Get it??? Antifa is AGAINST "fascist organizations" ... the freakin' OPPOSITE of being a fascist organization! Stupido!

Yeah, just like the self proclaimed "religion of peace" is actually a religion of peace. I'm reasonably certain that you'll be interested in a bridge that I have for sale.

The only peaceful religion are the Buddhist. They will fight to defend themselves as individuals.

"But let’s get back to this masked group that often identifies as Antifa, standing for antifascist. It strikes me as contradictory that a group opposing Nazis or fascists would engage in these tactics. The suppression of opposition is a cornerstone of fascism, while it is our freedom to debate ideas that is a cornerstone of democracy. During the event, I didn’t hear one idea that remotely resembled the Nazi party. I didn’t agree with every policy they put forth, but that’s point isn’t it? I’m free to disagree." - Don Henderson (He is the Candian who ANTIFA harassed while he was escorting his elderly mother into a free speech event.)

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