ORLANDO, Fla. – Citing recent police reform efforts around the country, Gov. Ron DeSantis came to Orlando Monday to propose sweeping increases in state law enforcement pay, plus bonuses and other changes to get more officers to relocate to Florida.
“The thought that it showed that the state of Florida supported the people who were wearing the uniform, and that really meant an awful lot for folks,” DeSantis said. “So we were proud to be cutting against the grain, standing for truth the whole time.”
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DeSantis used Florida Highway Patrol troopers and other state law enforcement officers as the backdrop for his proposal, which would allocate $75 million to increase minimum pay for entry-level sworn state law enforcement officers, while also increasing veteran officer salaries by 25%.
The governor also wants $135 million to increase the base pay for correctional officers and the Department of Juvenile Justice officers.
“That’ll bring the base salary up to $20 an hour, and these increases will help the agency hire and retain officers so they can continue to keep Floridians safe and prisoners secure,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis’ plan also calls once again for $5,000 signing bonuses for new Florida recruits. He also wants to up the ante for bringing out-of-state law enforcement into Florida by making the state officer certification exam free to relocating officers and covering the cost of any necessary training programs.
DeSantis also wants to create a law enforcement academy scholarship program for those seeking to go into law enforcement.
The plan also would continue $1,000 bonuses for first responders, including law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters.
Any of these changes would have to be approved in the Florida Legislature’s annual budget.