TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday that the state’s law enforcement recruitment program has landed officers from all 50 states.
The program provides bonuses of $5,000 after taxes to law enforcement recruits who move to Florida, according to a news release.
DeSantis said since the program’s inception, it has provided more than $22.5 million in bonuses to 3,350 officers — both new recruits and officers from other states. He said more than 900 officers have moved to Florida from all 50 states, including 47 from Illinois, where the state recently put up billboards.
“With a national lack of support for the important work law enforcement officers do daily, Florida has stood up for what is right,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Our back the blue policies have brought officers from all 50 states and two US territories to Florida. We will continue to support law enforcement and make investments in the people that keep our communities safe.”
DeSantis cites a 50-year-low crime rate in Florida — an often-touted statistic that has previously been called into question because it contains incomplete data. For decades, Florida reported crimes as a “summary,” according to NBC News. If multiple crimes were committed in one incident, only the most serious crime was reported.
However, once the federal government stopped accepting “summary” data in 2021, the state had to switch to “incident-based” reporting, according to NBC News. Some law enforcement agencies in the state reportedly can’t produce the specific data required without expensive tech upgrades.
NBC News reported agencies only representing 57% of Florida’s population have properly reported their crime statistics.