Governor Rick Scott is declaring a state of emergency in Alachua County in advance of white nationalist Richard Spencer’s speech on Thursday at the University Florida.
The governor’s office issued a news release Monday afternoon that says Scott issued Executive Order 17-264 following a request from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
The order will assist local law enforcement’s response to rallies planned on the UF campus by activating Florida’s Mutual Aid Plan. The plan allows the state and Darnell to quickly coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.
“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, said Scott, adding, "This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”
The University of Florida announced earlier it expects to spend at least $500,000 for beefed-up security for Spencer’s speech, according to the News Service of Florida.
Facing the threat of a federal lawsuit, the university and representatives of Spencer negotiated the Oct. 19 appearance at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Spencer is scheduled to speak from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.