Pulse survivor: Gov. Scott's $6M won't prevent massacres

By John W. Davis, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 07, 2017, 5:37 PM EST

The Pulse nightclub tragedy was on the forefront of Tallahassee lawmakers' minds as the Florida legislative session got underway Tuesday.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings received a standing ovation when spotlighted by Gov. Rick Scott during the governor's State of the State address.

Scott held up the Central Florida law enforcement community and the Pulse investigation as an example of those who could use benefit from more financial resources toward counterterrorism efforts.

To that end, Scott wants to allocate $6 million to law enforcement agencies in his annual budget.

“In order to keep fighting to support public safety in our state, we have to ensure that law enforcement officers have the resources they need to curb senseless violence and crime. That is why I have recommended nearly $6 million for counterterrorism efforts this year," Scott said.

But for Pulse nightclub survivor Demtrice Naulings, no amount of money will stop those set on committing evil acts.

“I don’t feel like $6 million is going to help them do any better than they already are doing," Naulings said.

“If it was about money that was going to help the police do their jobs better, then why is it (mass shootings) still being done? (Look at) what happened at the airport in Fort Lauderdale," Naulings said as an example.


Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings (2nd from left) and Orlando Police Chief John Mina (3rd from left) are recognized by Florida lawmakers during the opening of the legislative session in Tallahassee on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (The Florida Channel)

Retired Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy James Copenhaver disagrees.

Copenhaver, a former FBI task force member, thinks more resources would mean more law enforcement agencies have access to and sharing key information.

"I think with the governor’s $6 million and the 46 agents, I think that is going to make a difference," Copenhaver said. "It’s going to give those guys man-hours to work nothing but terrorist-related stuff, whether it’s domestic or on a national level to tie in and connect the dots," Copenhaver said.

If approved in the state budget, Naulings thinks law enforcement should take the money, but he's not sure it can prevent another massacre on the scale of Pulse.

“You got to be totally psychic to make me think that more money is going to help you do your job, that you are already doing your job," Naulings said.

"Is that going to make you a better investigator? Are you going to solve mysteries and crimes quicker? If this ever happens again in a nightclub, will you guys move in quicker because you have a better tactic?" Naulings asked.

The 2017 state budget is supposed to be approved by May 5, which is the end of the legislative session.