Since it was launched a year ago by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program is seeing huge success. DeSantis’ office has announced that more than 1,750 of the $5,000 bonuses have been issued. While some of those have been to in-state recruits, 530 law enforcement recruits from 48 states and U.S. territories have relocated to Florida – including many from New York.
It’s no surprise, since New York City is seeing police officers leave the force – through retirement or resignation – in record numbers. This January and February, 239 officers left the force, which is up from 176 in 2022 and 110 in 2021. NYPD pension data reveals their departures represent a 36% increase from last year and a 117% increase from 2021, according to a report published by the New York Post.
Police officers who left other states for Florida are speaking out. A police officer from New York, now with Clermont Police Department said, “After working in the NYPD for 17 years, I began to feel as if the city I served no longer supported my efforts. I decided to look into relocating my family and practicing law enforcement elsewhere. I began the process for my transition to the Clermont Police Department long before the law enforcement sign on bonus was offered. I was relieved by the news of this bonus as It carried a message that was very reassuring – law enforcement were welcome and embraced here in the state of Florida! I am happy to say that in July of last year I moved to Florida and joined the Clermont Police Department soon after. As my family and I begin our new life here in Florida, I am proud to say that our first mortgage payment was paid with the bonus money I received from a state that truly supports its officers! My family and I are grateful for this blessing as it has made us feel welcome and has affirmed our decision to move.”
That welcome is echoed by DeSantis. “I’m proud to announce that more than 1,750 new law enforcement officers have received bonuses through the Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program,” he said. “Florida is first in the nation in law enforcement recruitment because of our focus on back-the-blue initiatives that make our law enforcement officers feel supported by their communities. In Florida, we know the invaluable service that law enforcement professionals provide our communities, and we’ve got their backs.”
It shows that, when community and police work together, communities flourish.