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Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state of Florida is launching billboards in the Greater Chicago Area to recruit law enforcement officers to the Sunshine State.

Through the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program, out-of-state police officers who relocate to Florida will receive a $5,000 signing bonus.

Under Illinois law, foreign nationals are now able to become police officers. Additionally, earlier this year, Illinois became the first state to completely eliminate its cash bail system. DeSantis said his record contrasts with this, including signing a law that protects Floridians from these “bail reform” policies.

“Florida strongly supports law enforcement and has consistently enacted commonsense criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe,” said DeSantis. “We stand behind our citizen officers, and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally. Other states deputize non-citizens, enact policies that favor criminals over victims, and work to overtly or covertly defund the police, but not in Florida. I look forward to welcoming the Illinois men and women in blue to the law-and-order state.”

In late July, the governor of Illinois signed legislation that allows noncitizens to become police officers. Specifically, the bill states foreign nationals who “are legally authorized under federal law to work in the United States” or any foreign national who “is an individual against whom immigration action has been deferred by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process” can apply to become a police officer in the state.

In 2022, DeSantis signed the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program, which was designed to encourage Floridians to join the profession and attract out-of-state recruits or experienced officers to relocate to Florida. The program administers one-time bonus payments of $5,000 after taxes to each eligible newly employed officer within the state.

To date, more than 2,700 law enforcement recruits have joined the profession, including 750 from 48 states and two U.S. territories have relocated to Florida, including more than 230 recruits from California, New York, and Pennsylvania, and more than 37 from Illinois. Each of the more than 2,300 law enforcement officers has received a $5,000 bonus after taxes, bringing the total amount awarded through the program to more than $15 million to date.

In addition to a $5,000 recruitment bonus, the benefits of becoming a law enforcement officer in Florida include health and retirement benefits, student loan forgiveness programs, home loan programs, and more.

Florida Daily
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