FIRST ON FOX: A campaign by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to bring law enforcement officers from other states to Florida, which included setting up billboards in other states, has now brought in hundreds of recruits from all 50 states.
DeSantis, who is running for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination, launched the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program last year. The initiative offered a one-time bonus payment of $5,000 to each newly employed officer within the state.
Earlier this year, his office set up billboards in Illinois to encourage law enforcement officers in the state to “make the smart move” to Florida after Illinois approved allowing noncitizens to become officers and moved to scrap cash bail.
DeSantis also went on a pro-police tour in Democrat-run communities, including Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, and Elmhurst, Illinois, near Chicago.
Now, the DeSantis administration says it has brought in 915 officers from all 50 states and two territories to work in the Sunshine State. Overall, 3,350 officers have been recruited including those from within Florida during the drive. From Illinois, there have been 47 officers, including three since the billboards went up in September.
“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 2 U.S. territories to Florida.”
“We will continue to support law and order and make investments in the people that keep our communities safe,” he said.
In addition to the recruitment bonus, Florida officials have touted the state’s benefits for officers, which also include student loan forgiveness programs and home loan programs for those enrolled.
The state has also sought to contrast its own pro-police policies with those of other states, which advocate and implement more liberal criminal justice reforms.
“When states threaten to defund their police, they not only put their communities in danger but the very lives of those who work so hard to protect them,” Florida Commerce Secretary J. Alex Kelly said in a statement. “I am proud that many have moved to Florida to pursue their careers because they know they will be supported.”
Fox News’ Matt Leach contributed to this report.