SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is guaranteeing a $1,000 bonus for every first responder in the state of Florida.
The governor made the announcement Wednesday during a news briefing at the Satellite Beach Police Department in Brevard County, promising checks to every sworn police officer, firefighter, paramedic and EMT in Florida.
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“(To) Florida’s first responders: Help is on the way,” DeSantis said during the news conference.
The announcement comes just before National Police Week, which pays tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by losing their lives in the line of duty. The remembrance week runs from May 9 through May 15.
The governor emphasized the bonus payments are just one way the state of Florida is showing its support to first responders following a particularly difficult year due to the coronavirus pandemic and protests.
“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, you had some people — and I don’t begrudge them from doing this — but you had some people working for different companies whenever they would just work on Zoom, from their bedroom or from their living room. A lot of them were not even out and about doing stuff. Well, the people that wear the uniform, they didn’t have that luxury. Okay, they were out there every single day — our police, our fire, our EMTs. And they had to work more than they ever have. Not just to deal with protecting us when the pandemic hit, but then obviously how police were treated, like last year in many parts of the country was a total disgrace and they had to put the uniform on,” DeSantis said. “Some want to defund the police, we’re funding the police and then some.”
The payments will begin going out after the state’s budget, which was recently passed by the legislature, is signed into law, which the governor said Wednesday he expects to happen “relatively soon.”
Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff M. Pearson, who thanked the governor for his “unwavering support,” said also in honor of Police Week, the governor has promised to “paint the town blue” by illuminating the old Capitol Complex in blue lights for the entire week to remember fallen officers everywhere. Pearson asked all Floridians to join DeSantis and the Florida Police Chiefs Association in honoring the fallen by lighting their homes, businesses and communities in blue, as well.
According to Pearson, more than 24,000 law enforcement officers have lost their lives while protecting others since 1963, when National Police Week first began.