Sheriff Bradshaw gets $1 million for violence prevention unitby Dara Kam | April 29th, 2013
House and Senate budget leaders have awarded Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw $1 million for a new violence prevention unit aimed at preventing tragedies like Sandy Hook from occurring on his turf.
It’s just one-third of what Bradshaw had sought from the Legislature, but it’s a ten-fold bump from what was originally in the budget before House and Senate budget leaders finalized the state’s $74 billion budget this weekend.
Bradshaw wants to use the money for a 15-person “prevention intervention” unit made up of five deputies, five mental health professionals, five caseworkers and a 24-hour hotline where citizens can report neighbors, friends or family members they fear may harm themselves or others.
Bradshaw told lawmakers last month he hopes the hotline and the unit can stop potentially dangerous people before they act out.
Bradshaw’s proposal is a first-of-its-kind in the nation, and he hopes it will become a model for the rest of the state like his gang prevention and pill mill units.
It’s part of the magical budget conference process where House and Senate budget negotiators hash out their differences that items can get increased. In Bradshaw’s case, both the House and Senate had included $100,000 in the criminal justice budget. But over the weekend, Senate budget chief Joe Negron, R-Stuart, added another $450,000 in the Senate’s “supplemental budget” list and his House counterpart Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, added the same amount.
The proposal still needs the blessing of Gov. Rick Scott, who has a line-item veto authority.