Back in October, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told Maria Bartiromo, host of Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures, that Florida would offer a $5,000 dollar bonus to cops that want to leave their home states and move to Florida. His offer came as officers in states such as New York and Illinois expressed indignation and outrage at the idea of a vaccine mandate, with many vowing to quit rather than submit.
Specifically, during that Sunday Morning Futures segment, in which he called Biden’s vaccine mandate “unconstitutional,” DeSantis said that “In Florida, not only are we going to want to protect the law enforcement and all the jobs, we are actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement because we do have needs in our police and sheriff’s departments.”
Speaking on the issue of hate directed toward cops in blue cities, Governor DeSantis added “So, NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle, if you’re not being treated well, we’ll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us, and we’ll compensate you as a result.”
Apparently, cops from New York are starting to take him up on his offer. The New York Post reports that over a dozen New York cops decided to ditch Gotham and settle in a small, Florida town where the vaccine isn’t required and cops aren’t hated:
More than a dozen NYPD cops have ditched the Big Apple to join the force in a small Florida city — part of a nationwide trend of disgruntled officers finding greener pastures in pro-police communities.
Lakeland — a community of 108,000 people 35 miles east of Tampa — mounted a social media campaign targeting NYC cops earlier this year, and in April dispatched a delegation to recruit in Times Square.
Fourteen former Finest moved to Lakeland in the past year — 12 of them wooed over the past two months thanks to the recruiting trip.
The New York Post adds that anecdotal evidence suggests that many more cops are fleeing blue states and moving to red states where their talents, skills, and bravery will be valued. Exact data on how many are moving and for what reasons is, however, unavailable.
Speaking about those blue state refugees and confirming the anecdotal evidence that many cops are leaving blue states like New York for a multitude of reasons, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told The New York Post that “Many New York City cops are weighing our sub-standard salary against the ever-increasing challenges, scrutiny and abuse, and they’re voting with their feet.”
On the issue of remuneration, Governor DeSantis’s bonus offer is certainly helping the Sunshine State attract cops from blue states. Describing the incentive it provided, Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia told Fox and Friends:
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our city as well as for our officers coming down. We had a shortage, just like many of the other police departments across the nation, and this was a great opportunity for us to reach out to officers we knew were looking for other opportunities and give them an opportunity down here in Florida.”
On the same segment, one of the officers who left, Hector Lopez, told the program that he left because the state’s bonus offer and college opportunities for his kids created a great reason to leave the state.
Governor DeSantis’s bonus program, along with the inherent advantages of being a cop in a red state, will likely increase the problems faced by cities like New York, which are already seeing a huge number of officers quitting over issues like the vaccine mandate and anti-police sentiment.