Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) announced on Monday that he would be pursuing a large pay increase for law enforcement officers in the state, as he continues seeking recruitments from out-of-state officers who are disillusioned by “Defund the Police” efforts in other states, as reported by Fox News.
Speaking from the Florida Highway Patrol Troop D Headquarters in Orlando, DeSantis declared that “while other states have turned their backs on law enforcement, even calling to ‘defund the police,’ in Florida we continue to support the men and women in law enforcement.”
DeSantis’ new proposal would include $73 million to fund both a 20 percent increase in starting pay for entry-level law enforcement officers, and a 25 percent increase in the salaries of veteran officers. A further $135 million would go towards a pay raise for state correctional officers and officers within the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice. In addition, each special risk firefighter would see their pay rise by $2,500.
Furthermore, new recruits could see a signing bonus of up to $5,000, with an additional $1,000 bonus for first responders such as firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics.
To incentivize former law enforcement officers from out-of-state seeking new work in Florida, the proposal would also offer the officer certification exam for free. In addition, the proposal would see the government cover up to $1,000 for training programs for out-of-state recruits.
Terry Rhodes, the executive director of Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, praised DeSantis’ proposal, noting that “recruiting and retaining highly qualified law enforcement officers dedicated to public services is crucial, now more than ever.”
“The Governor’s historic pay proposal,” Rhodes continued, “makes it clear that Florida cares for and recognizes the sacrifices that law enforcement officers and their families make, many times in the most challenging of circumstances.”
The entirety of DeSantis’ proposal would cost approximately $400 million. State lawmakers will begin consideration of the bill in the next legislative session, which begins on January 11th.