ORLANDO—Central Florida Representatives Stephanie Murphy, Val Demings, and Darren Soto announced today that Orlando will receive $3.25 million in anti-terrorism funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of its Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program. This is the most funding the city will receive under this federal program since 2011. The grant is a result of past advocacy efforts by the three central Florida representatives, who were successful in getting DHS to revise its allocation formula to more fairly weigh factors like daily visitors, high-profile events, and so-called “soft targets”—all of which Orlando has in significant numbers.
“Orlando is one of our nation’s most popular destinations and home to a vibrant community that has endured tragedy and loss. Residents and visitors alike should know the federal government is providing the support needed to protect them from terrorist threats,” said Murphy. “Their safety must be our number one priority. I was proud to fight alongside my colleagues to secure this funding so local law enforcement agencies and non-profits have the tools they need to fight terrorism in our community.”
“I am grateful that Central Florida is receiving the funding we need to ensure that our communities remain safe places to live, work, worship, and visit,” said Demings. “Security is our top priority, and with these grants, the federal government is doing its part to help ensure we remain ahead of those seeking to do harm.”
“Our ongoing advocacy efforts to increase federal resources have paid off as we continue improving security against terrorism in our Central Florida region,” said Soto. “Orlando metro has faced multiple threats in the past years, adding alarming risks to the safety and well-being of our community. These funds will enhance our law enforcement’s preparedness and prevention methods. We will continue to invest and strengthen our security measures to combat all terrorist activity in Florida.”
Law enforcement agencies in 31 cities around the nation—including Orlando, Tampa and Miami—will receive a total of $590 million in UASI funding this year. They can use this funding to buy homeland security equipment, conduct training exercises, train and pay first responders, and enhance security in order to protect high-profile locations like stadiums, public transit, and theme parks.
In addition, because Orlando is receiving UASI funding, non-profit organizations in the city are eligible for Nonprofit Security Grants from DHS. Three non-profit organizations that predominantly serve the Jewish community in Orlando applied for, and received, a total of $270,000.