Comprehensive Response to Assist Local Law-Enforcement Agencies
March 28, 2011, Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced a statewide law enforcement response for an immediate impact to the criminal distribution and abuse of drugs in Florida. With support from Attorney General Pam Bondi and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, the comprehensive plan will confront criminal drug trafficking in Florida, including, but not limited to, the criminal distribution of prescription drugs.
The Statewide Drug Strike Force will assist local law enforcement agencies by providing intelligence and analytical and investigative support. Commissioner Bailey will serve as the statewide coordinator of the strike force, and local strike teams will be co-led by Florida’s sheriffs and police chiefs.
Governor Scott directed that $800,000 in unused grant funds be made immediately available for local law enforcement investigative efforts. The funds will go to the local strike teams to support overtime and other expenses. In addition, he directed other agencies under his purview to support the strike force. The Florida Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration will provide regulatory and licensing personnel, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco will provide sworn investigators.
Governor Scott also announced the Florida Cabinet’s authorization of the Florida Highway Patrol’s participation, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater authorized investigators from the Division of Insurance Fraud to support the strike force.
Governor Scott’s plan addresses the multiple threats to public health and safety, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers, unscrupulous doctors, storefront pill mills masquerading as legitimate health clinics and street corner dealers. Each level provides an opportunity for law enforcement to intervene and stop the illegal flow of drugs into Florida communities.
“The numbers plainly show that Florida has a serious problem that demands a serious, coordinated law enforcement response,” Governor Scott stated. “Florida’s future is threatened by crimes involving drugs, and our local sheriffs and chiefs simply cannot continue to tackle this mounting issue alone.”
Members of Florida’s law enforcement community who joined Governor Scott for today’s announcement were:
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Florida Governor's Press Office