The state will offer a $5,000 sign-on bonus to law enforcement personnel who relocate to Florida under a plan announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this week. The bonus is intended to attract members of police departments moving from communities that do not support law enforcement.
“People are being treated badly in Seattle and Minnesota and the NYPD (the New York Police Department) – they don’t have the support, they’ve had their funding cut and they get criticized if they just enforce the law,” DeSantis said during a press conference on Oct. 25 in North Venice. “So we’re looking to capitalize on a lot of communities across the country who’ve turned their back on law enforcement.”
The plan results from policies in several communities around the US that have reduced police department funding, or which have decreased or eliminated criminal charges for theft, burglary, and other offenses. More recently, law enforcement personnel in some jurisdictions are required to receive COVID-19 vaccinations or risk losing their jobs.
Under the plan, the $5,000 sign-on bonus will be available to all law enforcement personnel who relocate to Florida regardless of their vaccination status.
“It will be available to anyone who comes, so if people are trying to say that is a vaccine issue it is not,” DeSantis said, “If you are qualified, you come down here and you’re going to get a bonus because we’ve got your back and it’s a way to say thank you.”
Ultimately the incentive plan is about more than creating a pro-law enforcement environment in Florida, DeSantis said.
“I can tell you when public safety begins to erode all these other things we’re talking about jobs, education – all this stuff – quality of life, it’s all undercut,” he said. “You’re just not going to have a thriving community if you don’t have a safe community and we’re committed to that.”
In addition to offering bonuses to those who relocate to Florida, DeSantis said that he would also present a proposal to boost the salaries of those working in other state law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Corrections.
“We lose people because it’s a tight labor market so people have more options, so we need to remain competitive,” he said.