Rep. Demings Announces Major Increase in Homeland Security Grant for Orlando
ORLANDO, FL – Today Rep. Demings (FL-10) announced that Orlando will be the recipient of a major terror-prevention and preparedness grant under the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). This year’s award of $3.25 million is more than double last year’s $1.5 million in funding.
This increase comes after strong advocacy by Central Florida’s congressional delegation—Reps. Demings, Murphy, and Soto—for a greater focus on protecting tourists, international visitors, and high-profile events.
Last year, this advocacy successfully returned Orlando to the program after multiple years without funding.
Said Rep. Demings, “There is nothing more important to me than keeping our community safe. As Chief of Police, I oversaw UASI-funded preparedness programs. I’m glad to have the chance to renew this program and ensure that our neighbors, friends, families and visitors can safely and freely experience the best of Orlando, from schools to nightclubs, business parks to amusement parks.
“Last year Orlando scored a major victory when we were re-added to the list for vital terror-prevention funding. I am thankful that we were able to replicate that success this year. Orlando’s record-breaking growth has been astronomical—a success story which has expanded the limits of our economy, appeal, and opportunities. This funding is a critical element in protecting that success. I will continue working with our partners to ensure every resident and visitor to Orlando will be safe to enjoy all of what our incredible city has to offer.”
Said Rep. Murphy, “The Pulse nightclub shooting was a stark reminder that Orlando is vulnerable to acts of terrorism, and the federal government has a responsibility to provide the necessary support to help protect our city. Whether they are residents or visitors, members of our community deserve to feel safe. That’s why I joined my colleagues in fighting to secure this anti-terrorism funding so that law enforcement has the tools it needs to prevent further tragedies and maintain public safety.”
Said Rep. Soto, “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our citizens. Our community knows all too well the necessity of being ready for the unthinkable after enduring the pain of the Pulse nightclub shooting. As Orlando continues its growth as a thriving, bustling global city and welcoming thousands of tourists and new residents each year, it is imperative we ensure safety and prevent terror. We’re thrilled to receive additional funds for our area.”
The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) provides funding to help with terror-prevention planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercises in urban areas which could be targeted. Orlando received $1.5 million in funding under the program last year, following a significant gap back to 2014.
Rep. Demings serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Demings previously criticized the decision to leave Orlando off the list. As Orlando’s former Chief of Police, Rep. Demings previously oversaw the use of UASI funding by OPD.