Spring 2017

Purpose of the Disaster Task Force The Florida Police Chiefs Disaster Task Force (FPCDTF) is a com- bined effort of the Florida Police Chiefs focusing on coordination of statewide mutual aid and providing a point of contact for statewide initiatives.

The FPCDTF is chaired by a Chief appointed by the President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA). The state is divided into seventeen zones that match the FPCA Districts.

In order to fulfill its mission the FPCDTF has developed their Emer- gency Mobilization Plan to establish a procedure for the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). The FPCA will assist FDLE with the coordination of police department resources during any incident that causes the SEOC to be fully activated.

The FPCDTF District Director or his/her designee will serve as a point of contact and resource for obtaining assistance for the FPCDTF teams or to facilitate the activity within his zone.

It is in Your Own Best Interest to Participate in the Disaster Task Force After all that, why should your agency commit resources and participate? Over one third of Florida police agencies are 30 or fewer sworn, yet they represent several thousand officers. Why would the head of a small agency commit resources to disaster response far away from their jurisdiction? How can such an action be justified to funding bodies and commissions? How can the commitment of just a few officers be meaningful? There are actually several rationales and they are all quite compelling.

The first rationale is that disaster response is what we do. It probably goes without saying, but protection of life and property and rapid response to catastrophe is our ‘raison d’etre’, the reason law enforcement agen- cies exist. It is the reason why citizens turn to us in time of crisis. We all seek to render aid and come to the assistance of those in need. This disaster plan gives us a framework for efficient and effective response. The response is meaningful, long-term and does not deplete our resources to continue day-to-day services within our jurisdictions.

The next rationale is that disaster response is like a blood bank. Without participants or donors, there would be no blood bank to draw upon during times of need. Without participating agencies willing to respond to disasters, there would not be adequate assistance available in times of need. Everyone need only contrib- ute a little bit, or what they can spare, and the result is a significant resource that can be used when needed. If the vast majority of agencies are willing to provide a little assistance, what they can comfortably spare, a substantial resource is created that can render significant help when needed.

The next reason is that participation is disaster training for free. Disaster response within each community is clearly the mission of every law enforcement agency. Maintenance of public order and provision of assis- tance is our bread and butter and required by our mandates within our communities. Training is the basis of preparation. We train our personnel continuously in essential functions. After plans are developed they must be learned, tested and refined. The best responses are from those who have experience and have learned what works and does not work. By committing personnel and equipment to a district-wide disaster task force, agency heads are shaking down their operations and providing valuable experience to their own personnel.

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