TAMPA (WFLA) — Governor Ron DeSantis announced $400 million in new funding proposals to increase the salaries of Florida’s state law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and state special risk firefighters, and to provide $1,000 bonuses for first responders across the state for the second year in a row.
He shared the budget proposal alongside Florida Highway Patrol officers and troopers in Orlando. The governor was adamant that the state of Florida supports members of law enforcement in a nation he said where some groups advocate to “defund the police.”
“While other states have turned their backs on law enforcement, even calling to ‘defund the police,’ in Florida we continue to support the men and women in law enforcement,” DeSantis said. “I am proud to propose larger and longer-lasting measures to help our state recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers in the nation and to provide $1,000 bonuses for first responders and law enforcement officers for the second year in a row.”
The governor said he intends to re-up the bonuses. DeSantis said he’s also proposing $73 million to increase the minimum pay for entry-level sworn state law enforcement officers by 20% and to increase veteran officer salaries by 25%.
He’s also proposing more than $100 million to increase pay for correctional officers and Department of Juvenile Justice officers, as well as $1.4 million to increase state Special Risk Firefighters salaries.
DeSantis’ press conference did quickly change as he discussed how the national media has handled the tragic incident in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Police said Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was behind the wheel of the SUV that sped through a Christmas parade route, killing five and injuring 48 others.
DeSantis stated that the perpetrator clearly had animus toward white people and the crash was “an intentional act.” He also added that the suspect was likely fueled by the media’s “false narratives” surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse.
He also concluded with an adamant statement against COVID-19 lockdowns in Florida, saying they would never happen.