Gov. Scott Wants More Counterterrorism Agents

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – In the wake of last year’s massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando in which 49 people were killed, Governor Rick Scott wants to boost the number of state agents dedicated to counterterrorism efforts.

Last fall Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen recommended hiring 46 additional agents. Scott said he is backing the request because the state needs “specialists that are solely dedicated to identifying these terrorists and stopping them.”

Scott plans to ask legislators to include $6 million in the annual budget to hire agents who will be stationed in seven regions across the state.

“Just last year, Florida came under attack when a terrorist, inspired by ISIS and filled with hate, stormed into Pulse Nightclub and killed 49 innocent people. Following the attack, I spoke to many of the victims’ families and mourned with them at funerals. Their lives will never be the same, and as the father of two daughters the same age as many of the victims, I cannot imagine the pain these families are going through,” said Scott in a statement. “This recommended funding is a critical investment in our state’s counterterrorism operations that will work to ensure that our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to curb this senseless violence.”

During the June rampage, shooter Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in telephone conversations with a 911 operator and a police negotiator.

Legislators will consider the Scott’s request during their annual session that starts in March.

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