For Immediate Release:
October 23, 2005
Contact: FDLE Office of Public Information Tom Berlinger
or Kristen Perezluha (850) 410-7001
Florida Law Enforcement Prepares for Arrival of
Tallahassee - As the State of Florida makes final
preparations for the landfall of Hurricane Wilma, Florida’s law
enforcement community continues to coordinate assets and manpower.
The planned response includes a massive partnership between state
law enforcement officers, local deputy sheriffs and city police
officers from communities around the state, along with a large
contingent from the Florida National Guard. .
“We’ve responded to many hurricanes in recent years, and our
system of law enforcement disaster response is recognized by many as
the model for the nation,” noted Guy Tunnell, the Commissioner of
the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the agency designated to
lead law enforcement’s mutual aid efforts. “Governor Bush and the
Florida Legislature want and expect no less than the best from us,
and they have given us the tools and resources to respond in a very
speedy and efficient manner,” said Tunnell.
Law enforcement first-responders will focus first on urban search
and rescue, the efforts designed to rescue residents that find
themselves in a dire or dangerous circumstance following the storm.
Additionally, many officers will move on to security details that
are designed to ensure the safety of the people and property that
remain within the areas hardest hit by the storm. As with the seven
hurricanes that impacted Florida within the past 14 months, many law
enforcement first-responders will also perform humanitarian efforts
such as distributing food, water and supplies to residents that may
be without power or other basic needs.
In total, FDLE and state and local law enforcement partners have
identified and readied almost 700 state law enforcement officers and
1,000 local deputy sheriffs and police officers. These officers have
been placed on standby to respond on short notice immediately
following the storm. Many of the urban search and rescue personnel
are already in position.
In addition, the Florida National Guard has approximately 1,000
guardsmen and women on standby for law enforcement type missions.
When deployed, their primary job will be to provide security for
neighborhoods, businesses and critical infrastructure that may need
protection after the storm.
FDLE is activating Regional Law Enforcement Command Centers in
Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, and is mobilizing and staging
an Incident Management Team to support communications and
coordination of responding law enforcement assets.
“We have 17 million residents and a few million visitors in our
state at any given time,” said Commissioner Tunnell, “I am proud to
report that the men and women who dedicate their lives to Florida
law enforcement on a daily basis will be there with them during this
time of critical need.”