How many FDLE agents needed to cover Crist?
The answer is "8 to 10," according to officials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). They testified before the House Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee Tuesday as part of the ongoing 10 percent budget reduction "exercise." All agencies are required to show the House where they would make a new round of cuts if they were required to reduce spending by another 10 percent.
Of the 43 agents currently assigned to the FDLE unit known as Executive Investigations, "8 to 10" are assigned to Gov. Charlie Crist and the First Family, Deputy FDLE Commissioner Mark Zadra said, and that number is necessary to cover the detail on a 24/7 basis. "Sometimes it fluctuates, depending on the schedule," Zadra testified.
The committee chairman, Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo, ordered FDLE to report back to her on a breakdown of what it costs to provide security protection to Crist when he travels out of state. (Though Adams didn't mention this, most of Crist's out-of-state travel has been fund-raising for his U.S. Senate campaign, and FDLE agents protect him at taxpayer expense). Read previous Times/Herald reporting on this situation.