TAMPA — Standing before a glass display case of handcuffs, gun holsters and utility knives, Gov. Rick Scott vowed Monday to show no mercy toward criminals in Florida.
Scott was talking crime before a subdued crowd inside Patrick's Uniforms, an Adamo Drive business specializing in law enforcement uniforms and accessories. At the campaign stop, he touted the state's 43-year low in the overall crime rate.
He also vowed to continue to support Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing law, which ensures that prison inmates have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before they are released. In 2012, he vetoed a bill that would have cut prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and placed them in substance-abuse treatment programs.
"We're at a 43-year low because we have that 85 percent mandatory minimum sentencing law," Scott said. "And I believe in that. I've talked to law enforcement, I've talked to sheriffs and police chiefs, and I'm going to continue to stand up for that."
Top brass from several local agencies appeared in support of Scott. Among them was Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a fellow Republican, who spoke of a close relationship the governor has with police.
"One of the best things about Gov. Scott and his administration is their accessibility and their responsiveness to local law enforcement," Gualtieri said. "We never had this in the past."
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