This week, hundreds of law enforcement flocked to the Florida Panhandle for the sixth annual Rural County summit. This year’s three-day event focused on terrorism prevention efforts.
Thursday marked the end of the summit—hosted by the Gadsden County Sheriff’s office. The goal is for law enforcement officials from smaller areas to learn better policing practices from bigger agencies.
Jerry Demings—who heads the Florida Sheriffs Association—was one of the featured speakers. As the Orange County Sheriff, he had to deal with last year’s worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history that left 49 people dead and even more injured at the Pulse nightclub. And, Demings says he wanted to share that perspective.
“Even though this is a rural county sheriff’s summit, individuals who may be brought into a terror plot can come from anywhere,” he said. “And, so what we’re saying is: in order for us to be most effective at preventing an attack, it is about gaining intelligence information across federal, state, and local lines. Sometimes, individuals live amongst us—they may be living in a rural community—and so people who live in those areas may see something suspicious, and we want to know about it. We want them reporting that information to their law enforcement authorities, and so we’re part of a much longer scheme to protect Florida.”
Summit attendees also received perspectives from law enforcement involved in the 2015 San Bernardino attack in California as well as January’s airport shooting in South Florida.
For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.