Ron DeSantis unveils $5,000 signing bonus to draw police officers to Florida

State attorney general says ‘Florida is the most pro-law enforcement state in the country’

Maureen Breslin
Wednesday 08 September 2021 21:23
Police describe Florida shooting that left four people dead

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has announced a $5,000 signing bonus for police officers in Florida, in an attempt to attract out-of-state recruits to the area.

The Florida governor held a press conference on Tuesday at the Lakeland Police Department announcing the incentives he plans to present in the next legislative session, according to WFLA.

The main components of the programme include the signing bonus, making it easier for out-of-state officers to move to Florida, a scholarship programme for recruits to attend a law enforcement academy, and making the state police certification exam free for officers who are relocating.

Signing bonuses have become commonplace for many businesses amid labour shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov DeSantis and his supporters believe there is a lack of support for law enforcement in the United States, and he hopes that his plan will attract officers to move to Florida, according to WFLA. The move is likely to resonate among those who feel the police have been undermined and demonised amid calls to defund law enforcement.

The announcement also comes amid mounting speculation that Mr DeSantis is eyeing a potential 2024 presidential run. Conservatives have rallied around police forces across the US, and former President Donald Trump made “law and order” a hallmark of his political messaging. Mr DeSantis’ approval rating has taken a dive recently as his state struggles amid a surge of COVID-19 cases. However, Mr DeSantis dismissed 2024 chatter as “nonsense”.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody commented on Gov DeSantis’ announcement, declaring that “Florida is the most pro-law enforcement state in the country”, according to Axios. Ms Moody also has said that any efforts to cut funding for the police are “idiotic” and “negligent”.

The announcement from Mr DeSantis follows a shooting on Sunday in Lakeland, Florida, which left four people dead. The alleged gunman – 33-year-old ex-marine Bryan Riley – surrendered following a shootout with police, according to Axios.

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