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Central Florida leaders demand funding to fight terrorism

Post Pulse, hearing into why Orlando didn't get funds

Law enforcement leaders are telling a congressional committee in Washington the Orlando area's tens of millions of tourists should be given greater weight in determining which metro areas get federal money for preventing and responding to terrorist threats, citing the recent fatal nightclub shooting.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings testified Friday at a hearing to determine why federal authorities didn't deem terrorism as a high enough threat factor in Orlando.

"I urge the committee to consider these attacks are becoming more frequent at venues identified as soft targets," Mina said.

"One credible attack in Central Florida to a theme park will be disastrous for our economy," Demings said. 

U.S. Rep. John Mica, who led the hearing, said he wants a reassessment of how the funding is allocated. Orlando had been left off the list.

Mica says the Pulse nightclub shooting last month shows Orlando is susceptible to a terrorist attack. Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security removed Orlando from a list of high-risk terrorism targets. Mica told News 6 he's been warning the department that it has underestimated the threat to Central Florida.

"The basis of which you analyze this is that we didn't have a port," said U.S. Rep. John Mica, explaining why other cities in Florida get funding while Orlando doesn't. "Orlando doesn't have a port. So the money went to Tampa and then the money went to Miami. They have ports."

Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse on June 12, leaving 49 victims dead and injuring 53 people.

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