Q&A – Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Already Active In Florida

Today’s entry: One, there are federal agents in every city in the United States, every day. They do not need to be invited to come into cities to investigate and make arrests for any federal crime. Most of them don’t wear uniforms and if you get arrested normally by the ATF, FBI, or other federal agencies, you will be put in an unmarked car. The only time they have to be invited is if they are going to assist with investigations or arrests for a violation of state law. Many crimes like weapons violations and drugs are violations of both state and federal law, so no invite would be needed for violations involving guns. Federal agents are already working in cities to stop violence. The president is just sending in more resources where they are needed.

Bottom Line: Over the weekend Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony shared his thoughts regarding federal law enforcement assistance authorized by the Department of Homeland Security. Portland and Seattle have taken center stage as DHS has been defending federal buildings in those cities in the absence of local support. So back to Tony. He’s locked in a primary battle with Scott Israel, the person he replaced, to attempt to retain his role as Sheriff. Tony was appointed by Governor DeSantis and has since taken the opportunity to make clear he’s a true-blue Democrat. Perhaps that’s why, despite no effort being made currently by the Trump administration to deploy DHS to Broward, he stated, "I firmly reject the notion of federal officers being unleashed into our community. I will not allow presidential ambitions, or anyone’s politics, to come into Broward County and violate Americans’ rights. Nowhere is this gamesmanship clearer than in President Trump’s unprecedented and unconstitutional deployment of federal agents into municipalities such as Portland, Oregon".

Now, the first issue comes with his claim of “unconstitutional deployment”. To the point of your note, not only is the federal defense of federal resources constitutional. It happens daily. All federal buildings and departments which operate within states and cities are under complete federal direction and discretion. There are 37 federal agencies with a presence in Florida every day. This ranges from agencies you mentioned like the FBI, to the National Park Service, to Federal Courts, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Maybe this is new information to Sheriff Tony or has decided to play a political game with law enforcement before a tight primary election in Florida’s bluest county? 

Specific to the deployment of additional DHS resources, acting Secretary Tom Wolff has stated the support has been necessary to ensure federal buildings aren’t destroyed. As for Broward, the like building to what’s been defended in Portland and Seattle is the US Federal Building and Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. In that instance, the local law enforcement agency of record would actually be the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. BSO doesn’t even directly factor into that hypothetical conversation. In fact, the same would be true for all of South Florida’s federal buildings. There are six in Miami and two in West Palm Beach. Broward has the fewest in South Florida and none are protected by county law enforcement. But yes, every day there are dozens of federal agents operating and protecting South Floridians and the property they preside over.

Let’s hope this conversation never becomes more than hypothetical, but it’s important for South Floridians and our leaders in law enforcement as needed to have a proper perspective as to what’s real and what’s rhetoric. Hopefully irresponsible rhetoric during the primary season will be the extent of this conversation. It’s my hope it doesn’t make South Florida a target instead. We’ve seen what’s happened in communities across the country that have announced an end to proactive policing.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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