Marjory Stoneman Douglas by Sharon Aron Baron.

By: Sharon Aron Baron

To help offset overtime expenses for first responders who came to the scene of the deadly school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance  announced on Monday they have awarded a $1 million grant to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to pay salary and overtime expenses.

“When I met with Attorney General Sessions in February, I felt his sincerity to help and am glad to see that this has come to fruition,” said Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky.

While responding to the tragedy on February 14, the State of Florida, the City of Parkland, and Broward County incurred several million dollars in costs including securing crime scenes and operating command centers and state and local officials continue to incur expenses. The magnitude and urgency of the event resulted in a coordinated response of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and first responder personnel from more than 18 agencies. This award will defray some of these costs.

Attorney General Sessions said the school shooting in Parkland shocked and horrified the nation, but the community and law enforcement at all levels have shown resilience and determination.

“As I told our state and local partners back in February, the Department of Justice stands ready to help them in any way we can,” said Sessions.  “Today we offer $1 million to support the police who have been working overtime in the aftermath of this tragedy. They can be sure about this: we have their backs.” 

The Bureau of Justice Assistance invited the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which administers the Edward Memorial Justice Assistance Grants Program for the state, to apply for the funds. The law authorizing the Byrne JAG Program permits funding to address “precipitous or extraordinary increases” in crimes such as mass violence.

The program is the largest source of federal funding for state, local, and tribal public safety activities and is one of several programs administered by the Department of Justice that support law enforcement operations and improve officer safety.