This week, speaking at the National Fraternal Order of Police’s Biennial National Conference & Expo, Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a series of proposals to bring more police officers to Florida.
DeSantis said he will send three proposals to the Legislature when it meets early next year to help recruit and support law enforcement officers. These include one-time $5,000 bonuses to new law enforcement officers who never served in Florida before. If the officer serves less than a year, the bonuses will have to be repaid.
The governor also will propose making the State Officer Certification Exam free to law enforcement officers planning to relocate to the Sunshine State. DeSantis also pledged that the state government “will cover the cost of any necessary Equivalency Training Programs for law enforcement officers relocating to Florida, up to a maximum of $1,000 per officer.”
DeSantis also showcased the proposed Academy Scholarship Program, which will be under the umbrella of the state Department of Education, which “will provide additional resources for law enforcement academy enrollees.”
The governor’s office shed some light on the scholarships which “will be given on a first come, first served basis and will cover two different tracks for trainees: for students who are ineligible to receive other state financial assistance through a state college or technical center law enforcement program, the scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and fees for the program at a state college or technical center; and, for students who are attending a private academy, the scholarship will cover the cost associated with the training program at an amount equivalent to the average tuition and fees that would be associated with a public law enforcement training program.”
DeSantis looked to contrast how law enforcement officers are treated in Florida compared to other states.
“As so many cities and states choose to disrespect, degrade and defund the honorable work of law enforcement, we want Florida to continue valuing our men and women of law enforcement today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” said DeSantis. “That’s why today, I am proud to announce new initiatives to recruit and reward brave, high quality law enforcement officers in Florida that I will be including in my legislative priorities for our upcoming legislative session, including $5,000 signing bonuses.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org