by Pat Raia, [email protected]
Personnel from several law enforcement agencies around the state have committed to deploying to Texas and Arizona to provide additional resources to colleagues responding to the surge of border crossings in those states. The commitments to the deployments were announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week.
DeSantis’ June 16 directive was made in response to a June 10 letter from Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Douglas Ducey requesting disaster assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
The EMAC is a mutual aid agreement among US states and territories that enables states to share resources during governor-declared states of emergencies such as natural and man-made disasters; allows them to protect personnel who do deploy and to reimburse them for mission-related costs.
“On behalf of Texas and Arizona we respectfully but urgently request that you send all available law-enforcement resources to the border in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the letter states.
In response to DeSantis’ directive, the The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and others have committed personnel to the border states.
The specific assignments for the Florida personnel are still uncertain.
Meanwhile, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said that several law enforcement agencies are working on how best to provide meaningful assistance “with this difficult issue.”
“The Florida Sheriffs Association and other Florida agencies are working (quickly) behind the scenes to develop a plan that will actually provide the assistance needed – in the appropriate areas – to address the (states’) actual needs,” Nienhuis said in a written statement. “The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office will be ready, willing, and able to do our part in that endeavor.”
In the past, Florida law enforcement and emergency services personnel have responded to EMAC requests to assist in California during wildfires, in several states after hurricanes and other major storms and in New York following the 911 attacks, said Gretl Plessinger, spokesperson for the FDLE.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is coordinating this deployment of the law enforcement officers.