Florida lawmakers went back and forth on funding for new police radios in their $82.3 billion budget, eventually deciding to fork over $7 million for the new equipment to current supplier Harris Corp.
The communications company couldn’t be more pleased that lawmakers ended up “putting the safety of first responders and Floridians first,” according to an email it blasted out after the legislature passed the budget Friday night.
The House had included funding for the radios in its budget proposal, eventually nixing in order to step in line with the Senate budget, which contended the Brevard County-based company simply wanted to offload radios that law enforcement didn’t need.
The line item ended up coming back to life with the help of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, who represents Brevard County.
Harris said the new radios will not only “give law enforcement advanced interoperable communication technology now” but will allow departments across the state to “retire radio models that are more than a decade old.”
“As hurricane season approaches and as Florida hosts more than 100 million visitors annually, it is critical that first responders have the right tools,” the email said. “We question why anyone would want our state law enforcement to be forced to use outdated equipment or wait another five years.”