Florida continues to recruit police officers from out of state in an effort to fill vacancies and support law enforcement.
Attorney General Ashley Moody spoke about the state’s recruitment program at the recent Florida Sheriffs Association Summer Conference.
Moody said the program offers a host of career benefits — financially and otherwise — and uses targeted advertising to reach officers out of state who are considering relocating.
The program, created by Governor Ron DeSantis, targets police officers primarily in blue states and cities, encouraging them to become a “Florida hero” and work in a state that shows greater appreciation for their work.
Moody recently pointed to Deputy Raymond Arce as proof that the program is working.
Arce left Chicago for a career in the sunshine state after coming across DeSantis’ appeal.
“Deputy Raymond Arce heard our message while serving in Chicago and made the great decision to move here to be a Florida hero,” Moody said. “The nation is starting to realize that, in Florida, we back the blue and our leaders appreciate and support those who risk their safety in service to others.”
Arce said he was unhappy with the anti-police attitude in Chicago, and felt unappreciated by both the residents and city officials. He started to consider a change when he came across Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s video speaking about the benefits of working as a deputy in Florida.
Months later, Arce packed up with his family and moved to Florida.
“I needed a change,” Arce said. “I started doing my research online, and every time I’d be on social media or on TV, I’d always see Governor DeSantis talking about how he appreciates his law enforcement and Attorney General Moody saying, ‘If you need somewhere to go, come to us, we appreciate our police.’ That was a big factor in my move.”
DeSantis’ bill offers several recruitment bonuses as an incentive for officers who decide to take jobs in the state, including a $5,000 one-time payment.
The Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program also covers education tuition fees and offers $1,000 to new recruits for training expenses. Officers who relocate to Florida are also eligible for that amount as a reimbursement for training received in another state.
The program initially was Florida’s reaction to the “defund-the-police” movement.
“In Florida, we back the blue,” DeSantis said when signing the bill. “While some states talk about defunding the police, we fund the police and then some because we respect the work they do to keep all of us safe.”
The program also supports the children of law enforcement families with scholarships to attend private schools, as well as financial support for adoption and special needs care.
In addition, Florida officers may be eligible for the Hometown Heroes Housing Program, which has thus far helped 843 officers buy their first home in the community they serve.
Moody has consistently supported law enforcement. In addition to the “Be a Florida Hero” campaign, she has started other initiatives such as Back the Blue, The Thin Blue Line and Be a Hero.
Those interested in joining Florida law enforcement can visit the website to learn more.