Since Florida launched its nationwide law enforcement recruiting initiative in the summer of 2021, the state has seen an influx in officers seeking hiring bonuses and better treatment.
According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and first lady Casey DeSantis, the state has hired more than 1,000 officers over the past six months and has shelled out over $5 million in hiring bonuses. The two recently touted the results of the initiative on social media.
“[Gov. DeSantis] and I are thrilled to announce more than 1,000 new law enforcement officers have joined Florida’s ranks since July 2022 [and] each has received a $5,000 bonus. We couldn’t be more thankful for our brave law enforcement who keep our communities safe,” first lady DeSantis tweeted.
Governor DeSantis has made supporting law enforcement a priority since he took office in 2019.
Following the nationwide protests in 2020 and the push to defund police, Governor DeSantis doubled down on his support by making Florida a haven for law enforcement officers and promising to back the blue.
In November 2021, Governor DeSantis launched a $400 million initiative, called the “Be a Florida Hero” program, to increase salaries and offer bonuses to first responders across the state to boost hiring and retention. The program also offers financial and other benefits to out-of-state officers to relocate to Florida.
“While other states have turned their backs on law enforcement, even calling to ‘defund the police,’ in Florida we continue to support the men and women in law enforcement,” Governor DeSantis said in a statement at the time. “I am proud to propose larger and longer-lasting measures to help our state recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers in the nation and to provide $1,000 bonuses for first responders and law enforcement officers …”
Governor DeSantis also hand-delivered $1,000 bonus checks out of the state’s “Freedom First Budget” to first responders who worked during Hurricane Ian.