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Ron DeSantis Visits Sanibel Island to Hand Deliver First Responder Recognition Payments

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On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Sanibel Island to hand deliver $1,000 recognition payments to first responders in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian.

These recognition payment checks were mailed prior to Hurricane Ian making landfall but were unable to be delivered to impacted areas following the storm. The governor delivered checks to first responders employed by the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District, the Captiva Island Fire Control District, and the Upper Captiva Fire Protection & Rescue Service District. These payments are distributed through the Florida Essential First Responder Recognition Payment Program which is part of legislation signed by DeSantis to support first responders.

“We are proud of the hard work and selflessness that our first responders demonstrate every day, especially when communities are relying on them more than ever,” said DeSantis. “For nearly three weeks, first responders in Southwest Florida have been working day and night in the wake of Hurricane Ian to save lives and help their communities. I am glad we were able to bring Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Upper Captiva Island first responders their $1,000 bonuses to show our appreciation for their dedication.”

Additionally, nearly 400 checks that were not able to be delivered through mail will be delivered to departments across Southwest Florida in an effort to provide first responders with these bonuses as quickly as possible. Recipients eligible for the First Responder Recognition program include police officers, sheriff’s deputies, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and firefighters employed by local governments throughout the state.

“DEO is proud to support our state’s first responders by administering the Florida Essential First Responder Recognition Payment Program under the leadership of Governor DeSantis,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle. “Today, it was an honor to present recognition payments to Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Upper Captiva Island first responders. These women and men are working day-in-and-day-out to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Ian and help their communities begin to recover, while they are on their own personal road to recovery.”

DEO administers the one-time recognition bonuses of up to $1,000, after taxes, for sworn law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), firefighters, and paramedics employed by a local government as of May 1, 2022. The 2022–2023 General Appropriations Act passed by the Florida Legislature during the 2022 Legislative Session includes $125 million for the Florida Essential First Responders Recognition Program.

DeSantis proposed and the Legislature passed House Bill 3, a sweeping law enforcement recruitment and retention bill, which encourages Floridians to join the law enforcement profession and out of state law enforcement professionals to bring their skills to the Sunshine State.


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