Orlando was not included in the list of cities that will be receiving counter terrorism budget dollars under a program sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security this year, despite being the location of the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history last year.
The Urban Area Security Initiative allocates money to cities for counter-terrorism efforts using a scoring methodology to rank the cities according to threats. Orlando did not rank high enough to receive funds under the initiative.
The decision comes down as the city approaches the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, a terrorist attack that took lives of 49 people and wounded 53 more.
Following the attack, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lobbied Congress and DHS for funding to fund extra programs that would help monitor and respond to future threats. This included a trip to Washington from Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings to testify on the needs for funding.
“Well before the Pulse Night club shooting, local law enforcement had asked Congress to add the Orlando area to the list of cities who receive funding for counterterrorism efforts, in part because our city is a global destination, with a record 68 million visitors last year.” said Congresswoman Val Demings, who is also the former Orlando Police Chief “I will continue to urge Congress to expand the list of cities included and work to ensure that we have the proper funds to prepare and respond to terrorism in Central Florida.”