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A chief of Florida security is named

The retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel from Texas, Steve Lauer, is appointed.

©Associated Press
November 28, 2001

TALLAHASSEE -- A retired Marine officer with experience in the Middle East became the state's first domestic security chief Tuesday, overseeing Florida's battle against terrorism.

Steve Lauer, who worked in Florida's drug fighting effort for two years before recently taking a job supervising security at the state's 14 deep-water seaports, was appointed by Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Tim Moore.

Gov. Jeb Bush issued an executive order following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks creating the position, which will coordinate antiterrorism efforts by state and local law enforcement and other agencies.

"We have lots to do to give our citizens the greatest sense of protection and confidence so their lives won't be ruled by terrorists and fear," Lauer said. "We have to look at all the things we're doing."

Moore said Lauer's exceptional military experience and law enforcement background made him "a perfect fit" for improving Florida's domestic security operations.

A large part of Lauer's new position will involve working with the seven regional domestic task forces created earlier this year by Bush, as well as with the federal government.

Lauer said he was already deep into familiarizing himself with his new responsibilities.

"I've got a great deal to learn," he said. "I've been drinking from a fire hose."

Moore said Lauer, 49, would be paid in the $75,000 range. The final details were still being worked out.

Lauer spent nearly two years working with Florida drug czar Jim McDonough before being picked by Moore in July to direct the state's seaport inspections program.

A retired Marine lieutenant colonel, Lauer was sent to Kuwait in 1998 on a special assignment to defend military forces against a threat made by Osama bin Laden that never materialized. He retired later that year from the Marines after 23 years of active duty.

A native of McAllen, Texas, he earned a degree from the University of New Mexico and a graduate degree from the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kans.

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