09/18/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2023 15:50
Governor also announced more than 3,100 recruitment bonuses awarded to new law enforcement officers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Today, Governor Ron DeSantis visited the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to deliver $1,000 bonuses that reward first responders and recognize them for their dedicated public service. First responders who received checks today included Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies and members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team from Jacksonville Fire Rescue that deployed as part of Florida's response to Hurricane Idalia. In addition to the checks handed out today, there are thousands more bonus checks already in the mail to first responders across the state, with more to come.
"While other states are busy defunding their police, hiring non-citizens and kneecapping their local economies, in Florida we choose to reward our first responders for their service," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "First responders put others above themselves in the face of danger, as many of them did in our response to Hurricane Idalia and to Hurricane Ian before that, and we are grateful for their service."
"FloridaCommerce is proud to share in Governor DeSantis' commitment to our first responders by administering the Essential First Responder Recognition Payment Program for a third year and the Law Enforcement Recognition Bonus Payment Program for a second year," said Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. "We are proud to be a law-and-order state under the Governor's Freedom First policies, and we recognize Florida's first responders for the difficult work they do each day to support their communities."
Additionally, Governor DeSantis announced that more than 3,100 bonuses have been awarded to new recruits and law enforcement officers who have moved to Florida through the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program. To date, 816 law enforcement recruits from 49 states and two U.S. territories have relocated to Florida, including more than 330 from California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas. These recognition payments are a result of the 2023-2024 Framework for Freedom Budget signed by the Governor earlier this year.
Florida Essential First Responder Recognition Payment Program
Since July 2021, more than $213,673,000 has been awarded to Florida's first responders through the First Responder Recognition Bonus Program. On September 12, 2022, Governor DeSantis met with first responders from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department to deliver $1,000 bonuses that reward our first responders and recognize them for their dedicated public service. Additionally, on October 18, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Sanibel Island to hand deliver $1,000 recognition payments to first responders in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Eligible recipients of the first responder recognition bonus payments are sworn law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters and paramedics employed by a local government throughout the state.
Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program
Since November 2022, more than $21,124,610 million has been awarded to Florida's first responders through the Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program. On June 26, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than 2,265 bonuses were awarded to new law enforcement recruits in the first year of the program. This first-of-its-kind program encourages Floridians to join the profession and attracts out-of-state recruits and experienced officers to relocate to Florida.
Each bonus payment made by FloridaCommerce to newly employed officers will be in the gross amount of $6,694, which includes $1,694 for the payment of taxes. Further details about these taxes will be provided to newly employed officers when payments are distributed.
In addition to a $5,000 recruitment bonus, benefits of becoming a Florida law enforcement officer include financial stability, upward mobility, excellent health and retirement benefits, student loan forgiveness programs, home loan programs and more.
For more information about the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program and the First Responder Recognition Bonuses visit www.FloridaJobs.org/Recognition-and-Recruitment.