Edd Sorenson comes through with successful rescue

Edd Sorenson comes through with suc…

Middle of the night phone...



You know you’ve had a gre...

How to condition a new paint roller cover

How to condition a new paint roller…

There are certain tools t...

Chipola officials plant historical tree

Chipola officials plant historical …

Chipola College officials...

Marianna Toyota construction is ahead of schedule

Marianna Toyota construction is ahe…

For those going by Marian...

Jackson County Commissioners address debris

Jackson County Commissioners addres…

The Jackson County Board ...

Possibility of additional graves uncovered at former Dozier School for Boys

Possibility of additional graves un…

Jackson County Board of C...

How to properly paint cabinets

How to properly paint cabinets

The key to properly paint...

Structure changes to county includes Deputy County Administrator

Structure changes to county include…

In a special meeting of t...

Prev Next

Crime In Florida Down For First Half of 2013

  • Published in Crime

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, during a meeting with Governor Scott and the Florida Cabinet, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey today released the 2013 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report shows Florida's crime volume dropped 5.2 percent compared to the first six months of 2012.

Governor Scott said, "Our communities are on a path to a 43 year crime low, which improves the quality of life for families and benefits all aspects of our communities. This 5.2 percent drop in crime sends a signal to the rest of the world that Florida is a great place to find opportunities and a raise a family. We'll continue working in close partnership with law enforcement officials to make Florida communities even safer."

Attorney General Pam Bondi said, "Our hardworking, selfless law enforcement officers have continued to make Florida a safer place for residents and visitors. In 2012, Florida's crime rate was at a 42-year low, and today's semi-annual report shows that our crime rate is continuing this downward trend. As we enjoy safer communities in which to live, work, and raise our families, let us always keep the law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in our thoughts and prayers."

According to the report, the number of violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) was down by 3.5 percent. The report showed a 10.6 percent drop in murders, a 2 percent decrease in robberies and a 4.2 percent decrease in aggravated assault. Non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) fell 5.5 percent. Burglary and larceny are down 9.5 percent and 3.7 percent respectively. The number of motor vehicle thefts decreased by 9.6 percent.

"These numbers reflect historic lows," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "Law enforcement is working hard to make Florida a safe place to live, work and play."

Domestic violence offenses continued to decline in the first half of 2013, showing a 1.7 percent drop when compared to the first half of 2012. Cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims in this category, with spouses remaining the second largest group.

The report also contains information on officers killed feloniously. One law enforcement officer died from criminal causes and one law enforcement officer died from accidental causes while on duty during the first half of 2013.

"The results of the 2013 Semi-Annual Crime Report are testimony to the dedication and hard work of deputy sheriffs and law enforcement officers all over the state and the effectiveness of sending deserving criminals to prison, and keeping them away from innocent victims," said Polk County Sheriff and FSA President Grady Judd. "The Florida Sheriffs Task Force is one way we make a difference, most recently with our four-week long Operation Safe Families, which resulted in 5,544 arrests targeting domestic violence to help keep our children and families safe."

"It is encouraging to see decreases in every crime category," said Florida Police Chiefs Association President Springfield Chief Philip Thorne. "Keeping our communities safe is the top priority of police chiefs across Florida and we are seeing the results of our efforts."

"We are pleased to see that overall domestic violence crimes declined slightly the first six months of 2013 and look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the law enforcement community to keep domestic violence survivors and their children safe and hold perpetrators accountable," said Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence President and CEO Tiffany Carr.

The complete 2013 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE's website at FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971.


Florida Veterans Hall of Fame

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott honored six Floridians during an induction ceremony today at the Capitol for the new Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame.

Governor Scott said, "Florida is the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. We must continue to support our veterans who have served the Sunshine State. This Veterans Hall of Fame will show our support to those who worked so hard and made sacrifices for our state and nation, and have help ensure freedom for all. "

Governor Scott and First Lady Scott awarded Hall of Fame Medals and Certificates to the following inductees:

  1. John R. D. Cleland, Major General (Retired), U.S. Army (Melbourne)
  2. The late Rep. Sam M. Gibbons, former U.S. Army Major (Tampa) – represented by his son, Clifford Sam Gibbons
  3. John L. Haynes, Major (Retired), U.S. Marine Corps (Monticello)
  4. Robert F. Milligan, Lieutenant General (Retired), U.S. Marine Corps (Tallahassee)
  5. Jeanne Grushinski Rubin, Captain (Retired), U.S. Navy (Sunrise)
  6. Robert J. Silah, Captain (Retired), U.S. Navy (Tampa)

The Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame recognizes and honors those military veterans who, through their works and lives during or after military service, have made a significant contribution to the state of Florida through civic, business, public service or other pursuits. It is not a traditional military hall of fame, as it focuses on post-military contributions to the State of Florida.

"We have an impressive pool of outstanding patriots who call Florida home," said retired Army Col. Mike Prendergast, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. "These six inductees and the others who will follow in future years are inspirations to all of us who served honorably to defend the freedoms we enjoy today."

Inductees are recommended annually by the Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame Council based upon public submissions and approved by the Governor and Cabinet. In selecting its nominees for submission, the council gives preference to veterans who were either born in Florida or adopted Florida as their home state. The council's recommendations for the inaugural class were unanimously accepted by Governor Scott and the Cabinet on Sept. 24, 2013.

"This ceremony sets forth a proud tradition of recognizing veterans for their leadership and civic contributions to the state," said retired Air Force Col. Bruce Host, a former Leon County Commissioner who serves as council chairman. "We look forward to recognizing many more veterans in future years."

As part of today's ceremony, the Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame Wall was unveiled on the Plaza Level of the Capitol Building here. The Capitol Building is also home to the Florida Medal of Honor Wall, paying tribute to Florida's 25 Medal of Honor recipients.

For more information, visit


Defense Grants to Seven Florida Projects top $2 Million

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Governor Rick Scott today awarded more than $2 million in the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant initiatives to local community organizations which support Florida military installations. These grants will be utilized to protect, preserve and enhance Florida's military missions and installations, while maintaining Florida's reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation. Additionally, these grants will strengthen Florida's military bases ahead of any potential U.S. Department of Defense realignment or closure actions. This will protect more than $73 billion in investments and nearly 760,000 jobs the defense industry supports in Florida.

Governor Scott said, "Florida continues to be the best place in the nation for military service members and their families to live and work. The $2 million from the Florida Defense Support Task Force will help keep vital missions at Florida's military installations, foster positive relationships between the military and the community, and support jobs for Florida families."

Senate President Don Gaetz said, "Florida's Defense Support Task Force plays a critical role in furthering Florida's status as the most military friendly state in the nation. As the sponsor of the initial Defense Support legislation and appropriations, I'm pleased to see these funds used to assist Northwest Florida communities and businesses that go the extra mile for our military members and their families."

House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) said, "Tampa plays a critical role in our nation's defense industry and this grant helps to ensure the men and women working for our military have the support they need to continue keeping us safe. Support for the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance ensures provides stability for this significant sector of the Tampa Bay economy."

The 2013-14 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants, totaling $2.029 million, have been awarded to seven worthy projects that serve to protect military installations across the state. This year, awards were given to the Clay County Development Authority (two projects), the City of Niceville, the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, the National Simulation Center in Orlando, the Economic Development Alliance of Bay County and Tampa Bay Defense Alliance.

Secretary of Commerce and president & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope said, "These grants are vital to our military and defense programs, and the local economies that rely on the operation of those facilities. By providing the necessary funding for the sector's development, jobs are created and Florida's workforce is strengthened by the skilled former military personnel who enter the employment market. Enterprise Florida, through its work with the Florida Defense Task Force, is committed to supporting our military and defense sector."

The grant program is administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project priority basis, to organizations and communities working to protect, preserve and enhance Florida's military installations and missions as well as improve the state's military-friendly environment for service members, families and veterans. For more information on the Florida Defense Support Task Force visit


Clay County Development Authority will receive two grants totaling $729,000. The funding will allow Florida National Guard officials to install an airspace control system and a mass notification system at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

Senator Rob Bradley said, "These grants go a long way in helping to preserve the economic impact our military bases and families have on our region. I sincerely thank the Task Force for recognizing the value of military communities like Camp Blanding and other across the state."

Representative Charles Van Zant said, "This large award will immediately enhance Camp Blanding's airspace control capability while preserving defense industry jobs, and add needed economic infusion into Clay and Bradford counties. In addition, the long term effect will provide a broader, more secured posture when Florida's Military Bases are reviewed during the upcoming Department of Defense national re-alignment and base closure considerations. Congratulations to the Clay County Development Authority."

Representative Travis Cummings said, "Florida's military installations are vital to Florida in so many ways, from defending our citizens to billions in economic impact. I applaud the Florida Defense Support Task Force for awarding these needed funds to the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. These funds will provide important new systems for the base, allowing it to operate as effectively as possible."

Bill Garrison, Director of Economic Development, Clay County Development Authority said, "The Clay County Development Authority is excited to be a recipient of Florida Defense Support Task Force grants to support strategic improvements at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. The projects funded by the grants will improve Camp Blanding's ability to support the more than 350,000 training-days that take place at the base annually. Camp Blanding is a major training facility for Florida, and the Clay County Development Authority is proud to partner with them to enhance their ability to complete their mission, and to create more economic activity in Clay County."

The Economic Development Alliance of Bay County will receive $500,000. The funding will enable construction of the high capacity data link known as LambdaRail to connect with the military installation at Naval Support Activity Panama City. This will allow the installation to benefit from increased information technology connectivity and significantly improve its military value.

Representative Jimmy Patronis said, "The Florida Defense Support Task Force works to keep vital missions at Florida's military installations as well as fostering positive relationships between the military and the local communities. These grants will help protect, preserve and enhance Florida's military installations that generate billions of dollars for our economy as well as stable, high-paying jobs for Floridians. I applaud Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their support of the Task Force and commitment to keeping Florida as the most military-friendly state in the nation."

Representative Marti Coley said, "The Florida Defense Support Task Force should be commended for awarding this grant to Naval Support Activity Panama City. The connection of the LambdaRail data link was greatly needed to enhance operations at the base, and I applaud the Task Force for addressing this issue. This type of support shows our military families how important they are to the region."

Neal Wade, Executive Director of the Economic Development Alliance of Bay County said, "We are very appreciative to have received this grant which will link Bay County's military installations to cutting edge technology through Florida LambdaRail. This connection is a major first step and is critical to the continued growth throughout Bay County and the region."

The National Center for Simulation, located on Naval Support Activity Orlando, will receive $350,000. The funding will allow for the development and execution of a strategic plan to reduce Team Orlando's risk of realignment or closure. Team Orlando is a partnership between the military, the modeling and simulation industry and academic institutions that work to contribute to the security of the United States through modeling and simulation, human performance and training. The goal with the $350,000 in funding is to implement a strategy that will strengthen and grow the modeling, simulation and training industry in order to retain Team Orlando.

Senator Andy Gardiner said, "The $350,000 award to the National Center for Simulation at Naval Support Activity Orlando is great for Central Florida's military growth. Creating a plan to stabilize and strengthen Team Orlando is vital for this area and I'm excited that this community was given the funds to keep jobs and families in Florida."
Representative Steve Precourt said, "Team Orlando is a top notch partnership in Central Florida whose work protecting and advancing the local modeling, simulation and training industry is world renowned. The $350,000 grant issued by the Florida Defense Support Task Force will help secure an action plan to guarantee this significant work continues. Safeguarding our military related service economy from the negative impacts of realignment has been a priority of the legislature, and I commend Governor Scott for taking this step in the process of ensuring our military continues to call Florida a 'home base for business.'"
Retired Lieutenant General Thomas L. Baptiste, President/Executive Director of the National Center for Simulation said, "The Metro Orlando community appreciates the confidence and support of Governor Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Orlando's Research Park remains the worldwide epicenter of the Modeling, Simulation & Training Industry. The acquisition commands of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and ten other federal government agencies and joint commands are all collocated in what we refer to as Team Orlando. This grant funding will match local contributions and allow community leaders to execute an action plan designed to protect, grow and enhance Team Orlando and continue to deliver cost effective training solutions to America's warfighters."
The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance will receive $225,000. The funding will allow for the development of a strategic marketing campaign to champion MacDill Air Force Base. Additionally, the funding will develop and strengthen relationships between MacDill Air Force Base and the local community.

Senator Tom Lee said, "Florida's military installations are vital to Florida in so many ways, from defending our citizens to billions in economic impact. These funds are critical to keeping the bases and military personnel in our communities."

Senator John Legg said, "The impact our military installations and personnel have in the Tampa region cannot be overstated, yet we need to continue working to share that message. This grant from the Florida Defense Support Task Force is critical to helping MacDill Air Force Base strategically market their operations, and develop and strengthen relationships between MacDill and the local community. I thank the Task Force members for this grant and their continued efforts to promote the good work being done by our military communities."

Representative Dana Young said, "MacDill Air Force Base boasts unique attributes that we believe can tell a powerful story through any BRAC process. This grant will support the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance's efforts to deliver that message, helping to protect the base and ensure it remains a vital part of our community"

Rich McClain, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Defense Alliance said, "The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance (TBDA) is extremely thankful to the Florida Defense Support Task Force and Enterprise Florida, Inc. for their unwavering support as the TBDA joins forces with our community partners to champion our historic legacy and current readiness of MacDill AFB, in tandem with the Tampa Bay Defense Industry, to affirm the capability and capacity of our military and defense community in support of Air Mobility Command (AMC), the Air Force and DOD."

The Florida Defense Support Task Force was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state's position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state's military-friendly environment for service members, military families, military retirees and businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state.

The Greater Pensacola Chamber will receive $200,000 to establish a center of excellence for information dominance to stimulate science and technology research and cyber warfare training.

Senator Greg Evers said, "The bases in Northwest Florida are vital to America's national security, and we're committed to supporting the families and communities who serve our country. We want to protect jobs and opportunities for Florida families, and the investment of another $200,000 from the Florida Defense Support Task Force grant funding to support research and development operations, create a center of excellence, and support our warriors will help in that goal."

Representative Clay Ingram said, "I congratulate Pensacola's military and defense industry. This award is huge for our area. The knowledge that our military men and women will gain because of these resources will make Pensacola a better place to live."

Representative Mike Hill said, "We've been working hard to support our military and defense in Pensacola and these funds will greatly help this community. I'm excited about Pensacola's bright landscape and what's to come for this area's military sector."

Craig Dalton, Vice President of Armed Services, Greater Pensacola Chamber said, "The Center of Excellence is the culmination of our on-going relationship and collaboration with our federal partners at Corry Station. We are extremely grateful to the State of Florida for supporting this endeavor to collectively develop a cyber-forensics lab that promotes science and technology research in Pensacola."

The City of Niceville will receive $25,000. This funding will allow for the development of Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to implement the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) with Eglin Air Force Base to prevent possible encroachment to the base.

Representative Matt Gaetz said, "We are pleased that the City of Niceville is doing all it can to welcome the F 35 mission."

Niceville Mayor Randall Wise said, "The City of Niceville appreciates and is excited to receive the $25,000 grant. Eglin's mission is important to us, the State and Nation. These funds will help us insure that their boundaries are not compromised."

Subscribe to this RSS feed