Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $1,000 bonuses for the state’s law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders as part of a $400 million funding proposal to increase first responder salaries, declaring, “We will always support our law enforcement.”
DeSantis announced the proposal at the Florida Highway Patrol station in Orlando on Monday.
“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,” DeSantis said in a statement.
“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 for the second year in a row,” he added.
The proposal includes a variety of initiatives to further enhance the salaries of both state and local law enforcement. A handout from the DeSantis event shared the following statistics:
- $73 million to increase the minimum pay for entry level sworn state law enforcement officers by 20% AND to increase veteran officer salaries by 25%.
- $135 million to increase the base pay of Correctional Officers and Department of Juvenile Justice Officers.
- $1.4 million to increase the salaries of state Special Risk Firefighters by up to $2,500 each.
At the local law enforcement level, initiatives include a $5,000 signing bonus for new police officers, as well as $1,000 bonuses for other first responders.
“Today’s announcement is yet another testament to Governor DeSantis’ steadfast support of law enforcement,” Col. Roger Young, FWC Division of Law Enforcement, said in the statement.
“The conservation law enforcement officers of the FWC work hard every day to protect the people and natural resources of Florida. This initiative will enable our agency to recruit and retain qualified officers and continue to provide excellent public service to Floridians and visitors to the state,” Young added.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also applauded the move, referring to the state’s first responders as “heroes.”
“Through natural disasters and a pandemic, these are the heroes that leave their families at a moment’s notice to run towards danger in the service of others. We don’t have safe communities and a vibrant economy where families can thrive without these heroes working every day to protect us,” Patronis noted.
The sweeping increases add to $1,000 pandemic bonuses for Florida’s first responders in May.
“Supporting our law enforcement and first responders has been a top priority for my administration, and it has never been more important than over the last year. As a state, we are grateful for their continued service to our communities,” DeSantis said in a statement.
“This one-time bonus is a small token of appreciation, but we can never go far enough to express our gratitude for their selflessness,” he added.