Gov. Scott Proposes FDLE Budget Increase, Benefits Local Sheriff's Office

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BAY COUNTY - Governor Rick Scott is allocating more money for the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement. He believes the FDLE can help train authorities across the state. Bay County Sheriff's officials are pleased with the announcement.

Gov. Rick Scott promoted his 6% funding increase for the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement to the state's sheriffs at the Florida Sheriff's Association Winter Conference Tuesday night.

Although local law enforcement won't directly receive any of that money, Gov. Scott says they will benefit from it.

"One of the things in the budget this year is training dollars for law enforcement. Increasing the training dollars now so they can better train all of the law enforcement in the state," said Gov. Scott.

Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen says training is crucial for deputies and investigators to stay ahead of today's more advanced criminals.

"The fact that the generations are changing and the crimes are changing, we have to train. Making this training available to me is I think a very good priority," said Sheriff McKeithen.

Bay County Sheriff's officials actually save some money by using local training facilities like Gulf Coast State College, but McKeithen says his department, just like others across the state, are also strapped for cash, and too often have to make-do with old or outdated tools.

"We're just like the FDLE. We do need monies. Our guys need monies. Our vehicles are getting to the point where we really need to replace them," said McKeithen.

Mckeithen says he's grateful county commissioners budgeted enough money for him to give employees a one-time bonus this fiscal year. He says he's hoping to get another increase for next year.

The 6% increase for the FDLE is in the governor's proposed budget. It would still have to be approved by the legislature.