Sunday, November 23, 2008

Law Enforcement's Rule #1 To Fight Budget Cuts: Scare The Crap Out Of The Public

If the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has to cut their budget by 18 million dollars, they may have to end Amber Alerts and Sex Offender Registry Notices.

The headline reads: "Declining state revenues could cause Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement to ax programs that keep our kids safe."

the story continues: "Amber Alerts could be a thing of the past in Florida. The program ended up on a list of things FDLE would get rid of if it was forced to cut its budget by 10 percent."

"The sex offender registry, where 44,000 people signed up to be notified when a sex offender moves near by, is also on the cut list."

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer is warning lawmakers that if FDLE was hit too hard by budget cuts, public safety would be at risk.

To put that in other words: "You touch our budget, good luck finding your missing kids and knowing if there's sex offenders in your neighborhood."


It's what's referred to as the "Parade of Horribles." Tell the public that their biggest fears will come true, and get them to rally.

It gets old. If there's one thing government agencies don't like to do, it's prioritize. Announce cuts in law enforcement, and the first talking point is that "public safety will be affected."


People are concerned about violent criminals, personal crimes like strong arm robbery, rape, and murder, and you know what, sometimes you just can't devote resources to hassling people selling flowers without a license. FDLE doesn't use their time for "selling flowers without a license" cases, but I trust they have some other program, department, or priority less important than missing kids or sex offenders.

So FDLE, you want to beat the drum that you won't be able notify the public about missing kids or sex offenders, good luck. Maybe you can spend that precious time looking for some credibility.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit