Considering yesterday’s tornado tragedy and the families that have been affected here in our great county, I wanted to inform everyone of the proposed funding for E911 emergency and law enforcement officials proposed funding. As we all know both are essential to this community’s well-being as is all emergency responders. First responders need the necessary technology and resources to provide lifesaving aid to both Florida residents and visitors. The aid provided must not only be quick but must also be an effective means of treatment. With both demands, technology plays a very vital role in achieving those demands.

This year’s proposed funding provides enhancing measures focused on the priority of keeping all safe here in our great Free State of Florida. The E911 focus provides an additional $42 million in E911 enhancements. The $42 million will be inclusive of “$13 million for distributions and grant awards to local governments for E911 system maintenance with integration with the Next Generation 911 system and implementation of text-to-911.” Also included is $18.8 million for “local governments to begin upgrading all E911 public safety answering points within the state to allow the transfer of calls from one local, multi-jurisdictional, or regional E911 systems to another.” The remaining $10 million is designated to provide “continuous support and improvement to the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System”.

Florida Law Enforcement Officer Safety, Florida Highway Patrol, and Florida Agriculture Law Enforcement all proposed funding to safeguard Floridians’ and visitors’ safety and defend Florida’s agriculture commodities from the drug trafficking trade. The Department of Law Enforcement proposed $2 million to provide body armor to the brave State men and women who serve us. The Florida Highway Patrol proposed $14 million for an additional 50 state trooper positions and another $3.5 million for their aging fleet of vehicles. Agricultural Law Enforcement proposed funding of $9 million for the addition of 25 officers, equipment, and vehicles. They also proposed $1.9 million in funding to create a dedicated K9 unit which will also provide 8 additional officers for enforcement.

The Governor’s proposed funding also included $22 million to the Florida Crime Databases which provides resources for law enforcement to investigate and apprehend criminals. The Biometric Identification Solutions database was projected funding of $11.8 million for the second phase of modernization project funding. There was a proposed allocation of $3.1 million for technology enhancement of breath test instrumentation and software for the Alcohol Testing Program. Also allocated was a $3 million increase to the Criminal Justice Network bandwidth. The Missing and Endangered Person Information Clearinghouse application stands to receive $1.6 million. The Career Offender Application for Statewide Tracking is proposed to receive $1.6 million for upgrades and additional staff. There was a $600,000 proposed funding to implement the Statewide Sexual Assault Tracking System.

Please remember that all emergency responders and law enforcement individuals have a purpose which is to safeguard all of us. Each time you see one of these local, state, or national individual, I hope you will stop and say thank you as their service comes with a great sacrifice. My heart and prayers are with everyone in this community hit hard. Thank you, first responders, law enforcement, and plain good ole’ volunteers for helping in the tornado aftermath. In August and November 2024, I hope you will cast your vote for those who will remain vigilant to safeguard our community and who will seek funding to make sure we remain safe and free. I will leave you with those thoughts and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.