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Justice Dept to award $1 million to Florida first responders to Parkland attack

The U.S. Department of Justice said Monday that it would be awarding $1,000,000 to state and local law enforcement in Florida, to help defray the costs incurred from salary and overtime expenses, while responding to the mass murder at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "Today we offer $1 million to support the police who have been working overtime in the aftermath of this tragedy." (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that it would be awarding $1,000,000 to state and local law enforcement in Florida, to help with added costs incurred from salary and overtime expenses, while responding to the Feb. 14 massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

A news release from the Department of Justice said that this payment “will defray some of the costs” which it estimated at “several million dollars.” More than 18 different agencies were involved in the response.

Seventeen people were killed during the attack at Marjory Stoneman  Douglas High School, and at least 14 others were wounded. The attacker initially escaped the school by trying to blend in with fleeing students, but was later tracked down by authorities and arrested.

“The school shooting in Parkland shocked and horrified the nation, but the community and law enforcement at all levels have shown resilience and determination,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. He continued:

"As I told our state and local partners back in February, the Department of Justice stands ready to help them in any way we can. Today we offer $1 million to support the police who have been working overtime in the aftermath of this tragedy. They can be sure about this: we have their backs.”

The money will be awarded to the state of Florida, the city of Parkland, and Broward County by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance  through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Programs.

According to the news release, Byrne JAG is " largest source of federal funding for state, local, and tribal public safety activities and is one of several programs administered by the Department of Justice that support law enforcement operations and improve officer safety."

The Bureau of Justice Assistance had previously asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to apply for the grant.

Byrne JAG is the same program that Sessions tried to use as leverage, withholding grants until cities and states refusing to follow federal immigration policy fell into line. A federal appeals court ruled on April 19 that only Congress had the authority to withhold those funds.

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