Florida officials are openly recruiting law enforcement officers from other states, including those that have imposed COVID-19 vaccine requirements, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Oct. 24.
“In Florida, not only are we going to want to protect the law enforcement and all the jobs, we’re actually actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement because we do have needs in our police and our sheriff’s departments,” DeSantis, a Republican, told Fox News.
DeSantis announced a policy proposal in August to recruit law enforcement officers from other states, which includes a plan for a $5,000 bonus for officers who had never before worked in a law enforcement capacity in Florida.
The governor is working with state lawmakers to approve legislation and appropriate funding for the proposal and several others aimed at law enforcement, Christina Pushaw, his press secretary, told The Epoch Times via email.
The matter isn’t expected to be part of an upcoming planned special legislative session, but likely will be tackled during the next regular session, which begins in January 2022.
“In the next legislative session, I’m going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a $5,000 bonus to any out-of-state law enforcement that relocates in Florida, so NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle, if you’re not being treated well, we’ll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us and we’ll compensate you as a result,” DeSantis told Fox News.
Vaccine mandates imposed in multiple cities and states, including Washington state, have led to hundreds of officers resigning or being fired.
Some agencies in Florida have already found success in seeking recruits in other states. The Lakeland Police Department traveled to New York earlier this year and was able to find 13 recruits from the NYPD to fill vacancies.
Matt Spoto, one of those officers, told a press conference in September that the pitch from a Lakeland detective was “an eye-opener.”
“He said that you could park your police vehicles in front of your house. And to me, I thought that was mind-blowing. I used to have to lie about what I used to do. I used to have to tell people I was like a bartender because I was, it was almost like I was ashamed to be a law enforcement officer,” he said. “I’m happy to say that I found a home in Florida.”
Spoto received a $1,000 signing bonus. DeSantis authorized the bonuses for first responders in March. The governor also has signed a law that makes it more difficult for municipalities to cut funding for law enforcement.