Tallahassee, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Sunday that he hoped the legislature would approve his plan to offer $5,000 signing bonuses to police officers from other states who want to relocate to Florida.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide were reporting a shortage of officers even before the global pandemic and the nationwide riots that followed the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, WJXT reported.
New vaccination mandates in multiple states have added to that problem, and unvaccinated officers have been fired or are retiring in record numbers or looking for transfers to law enforcement agencies in friendlier climes.
Thousands of law enforcement officers have been fired or suspended without pay in Washington, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California, among others, for failing to comply with new rules related to the vaccine, WJXT reported.
Indiana police departments have been recruiting Chicago police officers who were at risk of losing their jobs.
On Sunday, Florida’s governor explained his plan to FOX News.
“In Florida, not only are we going to want to protect the law enforcement and all the jobs, we’re actually actively working to recruit out of state law enforcement because we do have needs in our police and our sheriffs’ departments,” DeSantis said.
“So in the next legislative session, I’m going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a $5,000 bonus to any out of state law enforcement that relocates in Florida,” the governor told FOX News.
Then he delivered a message to members of the law enforcement community nationwide.
“NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle: If you’re not being treated well, we’ll treat you better here, you can fill important needs for us, and we’ll compensate you as a result,” DeSantis said.
“On a scientific basis, most of those first responders have had COVID and have recovered,” he explained. “So they have strong protection, and so I think that influences their decision.”
The governor pushed back at assertions he was trying to attract unvaccinated officers to the state, WJXT reported.
“No, no, no, no. It’s for officers period, it is has nothing to do with their vaccination status so that’s just wrong,” DeSantis insisted. “I put that out there as a proposal months ago and the reason we’re doing it is because people are being treated poorly in Seattle and Minnesota, and NYPD, they don’t have the support, they’ve had their funding cut.”
He pointed out that law enforcement officers in Florida were some of the first in the nation to have been offered the vaccine.
DeSantis has earned a reputation as a strong backer of the Thin Blue Line and has proposed numerous laws – including a strong anti-riot one that is being debated in the courts – that favor law enforcement.
In May, he announced a $1,000 bonus for all of Florida’s first responders to thank them for the extraordinary personal risks they’d taken for their communities during the pandemic, FOX News reported.
Some want to defund the police.
In Florida, we’re funding them & then some by providing all of our heroes $1,000 bonuses. This represents more than 174,000 first responders across the state!
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 5, 2021
“Sean, they have a tough job,” DeSantis told FOX News at the time. “They were treated horribly in many parts of the country for the entire year. We stood by them in Florida 100 percent, but we also recognized this was a very challenging year, so this is one way for us to say thank you, and another way, the bill you mentioned, the anti-rioting bill, provides additional support for the police.”
“[The anti-rioting bill] says very simply that if the local government tries to defund law enforcement, the state of Florida will veto that, we will make sure law enforcement is funded, and if people are rioting, they are damaging property, attacking police, they are going to go to jail,” the governor explained.
“And we are going to stand by the men and women in uniform,” he added.