TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Governor Ron DeSantis announced three new policy proposals to help recruit new, out-of-state law enforcement officers for local and state law enforcement agencies.
DeSantis made the announcement at the 2021 Biennial National Conference & Expo hosted by the National Fraternal Order of Police.
WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW:
“As so many cities and states choose to disrespect, degrade and defund the honorable work of law enforcement, we want Florida to continue valuing our men and women of law enforcement today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” said DeSantis. “That’s why today, I am proud to announce new initiatives to recruit and reward brave, high-quality law enforcement officers in Florida that I will be including in my legislative priorities for our upcoming legislative session, including $5,000 signing bonuses.”
The three proposals provide state resources to recruit law enforcement officers through three separate programs:
- New officer signing bonuses;
- Academy scholarship program; and
- Out-of-state relocation support.
New Officer Signing Bonuses will provide a one-time $5,000 payment to law enforcement officers who are new to the profession in Florida. These bonuses will be eligible to individuals with no prior employment in this state as a sworn law enforcement officers, corrections officers or other institutional security officers. Additionally, the funds are to be repaid to the state if the officer leaves their role prior to 1-year of continuous service.
The Academy Scholarship Program, created through the Department of Education, will provide additional resources for law enforcement academy enrollees. The scholarships will be given on a first-come, first-served basis and will cover two different tracks for trainees:
- For students who are ineligible to receive other states financial assistance through a state college or technical center law enforcement program, the scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and fees for the program at a state college or technical center; and,
- For students who are attending a private academy, the scholarship will cover the cost associated with the training program at an amount equivalent to the average tuition and fees that would be associated with a public law enforcement training program.
Trainees who are sponsored by a law enforcement agency that covers the cost of academy training are ineligible to receive the scholarship.
DeSantis said Florida will provide the State Officer Certification Exam free of charge to law enforcement officers relocating to Florida.
He also said the state will cover the cost of any necessary Equivalency Training Programs for law enforcement officers relocating to Florida, up to a maximum of $1,000 per officer.