Public Safety

Securing a Safe Future for Florida Families

Governor Scott is committed to supporting public safety and the Securing Florida’s Future budget continues to make important investments that will keep our communities safe. Thanks to the hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers, the state’s crime rate is at a 46-year low, and the number of juvenile arrests is the lowest it’s been in more than 42 years. Recent investments in re-entry programming have helped to reduce Florida’s recidivism rate to 25.2 percent, which translates into less crime and safer neighborhoods. These investments have also helped to reduce Florida’s inmate population by more than 4,000 inmates over the Governor’s term, which has saved taxpayers more than $73 million. The Securing Florida’s Future budget makes additional strategic investments to build on this success.

Recognizing Florida’s Law Enforcement and First Responders
Florida’s law enforcement and public safety partners are on the front lines ensuring Floridians have safe communities. This year, during Hurricanes Irma and Nate, Florida’s law enforcement and first responders answered the call and helped Floridians across the state in their time of need. The Securing Florida’s Future budget recognizes their efforts and ensures they have the resources they need to continue their lifesaving work.

Florida has nearly 4,800 sworn state law enforcement officers that selflessly put their lives on the line to protect Florida's citizens. These brave men and women face danger every day and have protected the Florida’s communities during incredibly challenging times. The Securing Florida’s Future budget seeks to reward these officers by providing $30 million for Florida’s state law enforcement agencies to use for officer recruitment and retention. These funds will help ensure state agencies can continue to recruit and retain highly qualified and dedicated officers.

Strengthening Counterterrorism Operations
During the last legislative session, Governor Scott proposed and then signed $5.8 million in funding for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to hire 46 new agents dedicated to counterterrorism. This investment in public safety has allowed FDLE to work hand-in-hand with and support local, state and federal intelligence agencies to establish a planned, deliberate and comprehensive domestic security strategy.

Just last month, Governor Scott applauded the hard work of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) led Joint Terrorism Task Force which resulted in the arrest of an alleged terrorist in Miami. FDLE has counterterrorism agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force because of the positions and funding proposed by Governor Scott and approved last session. Thanks to the work of federal, state and local law enforcement working collaboratively through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the individual was arrested and taken into custody.

The Securing Florida’s Future budget continues its investment in counterterrorism by providing FDLE $1.3 million for incident command vehicles and emergency ordinance disposal vehicles to strengthen counterterrorism and intelligence efforts. These vehicles will serve a critical role in helping to protect Florida families from terrorism.

Improving Florida’s Crime Databases
FDLE is responsible for maintaining Florida’s sex offender and predator database, which is used daily by the public and Florida’s law enforcement officers to register and track offenders. Last year, Governor Scott recommended and the Legislature appropriated $1.9 million for FDLE to begin upgrading this database, which is more than 20 years old. The Securing Florida’s Future budget funds the second year of this project by providing $2.2 million to FDLE. The Securing Florida’s Future budget also provides FDLE $8.3 million to complete the upgrades to the state criminal history database and to launch a 5-year project that will significantly improve how Florida reports crime statistics.

Enhancing Law Enforcement Search & Rescue During Natural Disasters
Governor Scott’s top focus during natural disasters is the safety and wellbeing of Florida families. To ensure Florida’s law enforcement has the tools they need to save lives, the Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends nearly $2 million to enhance search and rescue capabilities of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement, who are a critical part of hurricane and emergency response. This investment will include a mobile command unit and other technologies that will provide law enforcement real-time information and communications, and will enable faster recovery efforts.

Continuing Reforms at the Florida Department of Corrections
Over the past three years, more than $124 million has been invested in the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to provide pay increases to Florida’s correctional officers in an effort to recruit and retain quality staff, improve FDC’s facilities and fleet, better serve inmates with medical and mental health needs and expand reentry programming. Governor Scott's Securing Florida’s Future budget continues to support the reformation of Florida’s prison system and recommends nearly $169 million over the Department of Corrections’ current budget - an increase of nearly seven percent.

Enhancing FDC Mental Health Units
The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides $68 million and 476 positions to better serve inmates with mental illness. These funds will be used to consolidate and renovate mental health facilities and increase the medical and security staff to ensure inmates are receiving the treatment they require. The Securing Florida’s Future budget also includes $10 million to continue the Residential Mental Health Unit at the Wakulla Correctional Institution ensuring inmates with mental illness receive prompt and effective treatment in a rehabilitative setting.

Improving FDC Services to Disabled Inmates
The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides nearly $6.5 million and 12 positions to better serve inmates with disabilities. These funds will be used to provide Americans with Disabilities Act modifications to current facilities and provide hearing aids and sign language interpreters for hearing impaired inmates.

Expanding Workforce Education Programs
The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides a $4 million increase for FDC to expand and operate new workforce education programs. Inmates that are employed after release are far less likely to recidivate, which increases public safety and lowers taxpayer costs. This investment will provide inmates with the skills that are necessary to get a job upon release.

Ensuring Safe Facilities
The Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends more than $31 million to make critical repairs and renovations to correctional and juvenile facilities. This investment in Florida’s infrastructure not only enhances the safety and security of Florida’s correctional and juvenile officers, inmates, and youth, but will also result in long-term energy and maintenance savings.

Reducing Juvenile Delinquency
Over the past seven years, the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has undergone a massive transformation thanks to its data-driven focus on effective prevention, intervention, and treatment services. The hard work of DJJ has culminated in a dramatic decrease in residential commitments and the lowest juvenile arrest rate in more than 42 years. Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends significant investments in DJJ to ensure it has the resources it needs to continue these important reforms and keep youth and staff safe.

Pay Raises for Juvenile Detention and Probation Officers The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests more than $8 million to provide a 10 percent salary increase for Florida’s Juvenile Detention and Probation Officers. This critical investment will allow DJJ to better recruit officers and ensure DJJ has an experienced workforce that is committed to reducing juvenile delinquency and turning around the lives of troubled youth.

Improving Residential Services
The Governor’s Securing Florida’s Future budget provides $14 million to add an additional 140 beds in DJJ’s residential facilities. The additional beds will allow youth to be placed in an appropriate residential treatment facility while minimizing the time spent in more costly detention facilities that have more limited treatment and rehabilitation services.

Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Juvenile Facilities
The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides DJJ $317,000 and three positions to establish the Office of Youth and Family Advocacy. This newly-established office will serve as a firsthand resource working directly with youth and families to foster communication and amplify their voice in the ongoing improvement of the juvenile justice system. Youth and families will have an additional avenue to raise concerns and engage with the Department to ensure youth and family needs are addressed. This office will further improve transparency and accountability to ensure youth in the custody of DJJ have a safe environment conducive to effective rehabilitation.

At-Risk Youth Programs and Prevention Services
Governor Scott recognizes that effective prevention and intervention programs strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth. Over the Governor’s term, DJJ’s prevention funding has increased by 39 percent. These investments have played a critical role in reducing juvenile arrest rates to the lowest in 42 years. The Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends more than $16 million to continue to expand evidence-based prevention programs for at-risk youth. The budget includes funding for the following programs: About Face Program – Provides $1.25 million in funding to provide summer and after-school life preparation programs; Forward March Program – Provides $750,000 in funding to provide job readiness services at selected Florida armories for Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency recipients and other qualifying young adults; Youth Challenge Program – More than $5.3 million to provide 16-18-year-olds who withdraw or are removed from school with opportunities such as high school credit recovery, career-technical education, and life preparation classes at this Camp Blanding residential program; and Contracted Prevention Funding for DJJ – An additional $9.2 million for DJJ to contract with evidence-based prevention programs that will serve at-risk youth and prevent them from engaging in delinquency.