Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a press conference in Orlando on Monday where he announced raises for all new and currently serving law enforcement officers (LEO).
DeSantis stressed his support of LEOs and other branches of police, maintaining that the state will continue to allocate financial resources to local departments in the wake of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement.
“As most of you remember, you go back to summer of 2020, you had huge movements in parts of the country to attack law enforcement,” said DeSantis. “I’m proud to say that we never budged. We stood with Florida Law Enforcement.”
DeSantis also touted $1,000 bonuses for active LEOs, first responders, and firefighters, marking the second consecutive year of which bonus payments were dispersed.
Appearing alongside uniformed highway patrolmen, DeSantis said his proposed budget, to be introduced in the 2022 legislative cycle, would include $73 million in funding to increase the minimum pay for entry-level law enforcement officers by 20%.
DeSantis also said his proposal would raise the pay of veteran officers by 25%. The budget is planned to allocate $124 million to increase salaries for correctional officers.
Base pay for correctional officers will rise to $20/hr in an attempt to attract and retain trained professionals.
State officials have pressured DeSantis to raise correctional officer pay amid a growing crisis in the state’s Department of Corrections over a lack of workers, which has led to the shuttering of several facilities statewide.
Mark Brown, Florida Highway Patrol Chief, joined DeSantis at the press conference, expressing gratitude for his ongoing support and financial allocations.
“I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to Governor DeSantis for his unwavering support of law enforcement, not just in Florida, but nationwide,” said Brown.“This state proposal will go a long way. Our officers perform a vital service for the state, and they deserve these bonuses.”
DeSantis touched on several other topics on Monday, where he promised to keep Florida free from lockdowns amid the newly discovered Omicron strain of the novel coronavirus.