Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing salary increases for law enforcement officers statewide and bonuses for first responders as he steps up efforts to recruit dissatisfied police officers from other states.
The Republican governor announced the pay increases during a speech Monday at Florida Highway Patrol Troop D headquarters in Orlando.
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“While other states have turned their backs on law enforcement, even calling for ‘funding the police’, in Florida we continue to support the men and women in law enforcement,” a- he said in a statement.
The proposal includes $ 73 million to increase the starting salary of entry-level law enforcement officers by 20% and the salaries of veterans by 25%. An additional $ 135 million would be used to increase the salaries of state correctional officers and Department of Juvenile Justice officers. Special risk firefighters would see a pay increase of up to $ 2,500 each.
Under the proposal, all new law enforcement hires would receive a $ 5,000 signing bonus, as well as a $ 1,000 responder bonus – which includes firefighters, paramedics, paramedics and law enforcement officers. To attract officers from out of state, the officer certification exam would be offered free of charge.
The plan would also cover up to $ 1,000 for all necessary training programs for police officers moving out of state and a law enforcement academy scholarship program would be created. to cover registration fees for those seeking to serve their community through police work.
The push for new funding comes as DeSantis continues to aggressively recruit police officers from other states where police budgets have been cut and executives have issued vaccination warrants.
The minimum wage for new Florida Highway Patrol soldiers starts at just under $ 42,000 per year, although it can be increased depending on where the soldier is posted in the state. For example, those who work in Dade County, where Miami is located, earn a minimum of just under $ 47,000, according to the Highway Patrol website.
“The recruitment and retention of highly skilled, dedicated public service law enforcement officers is critical now more than ever,” said Terry Rhodes, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “The governor’s historic salary proposal makes it clear that Florida cares and recognizes the sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make, many times in the most difficult circumstances. “
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In total, DeSantis is offering $ 400 million in new funding. Lawmakers will consider the plan during the 2022 legislative session, which begins on January 11.