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DeSantis hands out $5k bonuses to “make sure Florida remains a law and order state’

(BROWARD COUNTY, FLA) — Governor Ron DeSantis handed out the first $5,000 bonus checks to new law enforcement officers in Cape Coral.
DeSantis is handing out cash in an effort to help recruit and retain officers, but also to boost morale and ensure cops know the state supports them after the push to defund the police in blue cities.

“We are going to move heaven and earth to make sure this state remains a law and order state,” DeSantis said at an event at a Cape Coral police station. “We’re not going to let them take it away from us.”

Officers who relocate to Florida, or native Floridians who become police officers for the first time, are eligible for the bonuses.
The law (HB 3) also placed a requirement of maintaining employment in the law enforcement profession in the state for at least two years or the officer would have to pay the money back, but the clawback provision only applies if the officer is discharged for misconduct.

DeSantis handed out six checks Friday, but said hundreds more are in the mail. Unfortunately, new officers who live in areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Ian like Sanibel, the checks may have to be canceled and re-sent, he said.

Officer Mercedes Phillips relocated to the Cape Coral Police Department because of the $5,000 bonus after serving as an officer for three years in Maryland.

“From my firsthand experience, there’s been a lot of officers that were alienated and underappreciated in that area of the country. I knew moving to Florida I would be valued and appreciated by my department and citizens and coworkers,” Phillips said. “All that support from the top feeds down to departments like ours and gives us the motivation and support to make our community that much better.”

What about taxes? Well DeSantis says the checks are actually for $6,000 to ensure at least $5,000 goes into new cops’ pockets after taxes.

“We don’t want those armed IRS agents coming after them, so that check is over $6,000 so they can pay their taxes,” Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Department of Economic Opportunity, which is administering the program, said.

Florida averaged 2,711 new police officers each year the last five years and the state expects to pay $13.6 million in bonuses.