On Sunday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he is planning to sign legislation that will give a $5,000 bonus to unvaccinated police officers who move to the Sunshine State for work. In an interview with Fox News, he said that the state was “actively working to recruit” personnel as both police officers as well as workers in the Sheriff’s departments.
Since vaccine mandates have been set by states and there are still some police personnel who are unwilling to get vaccinated, the governor hopes to tap this source and fill in vacant positions in the state. It also reinforces his public policy of vaccines and masks not being compulsory.
Police personnel in several states including New York, Massachusetts, Chicago, Seattle and more are defying the mandates set by the state. Police unions state that there will be several resignations as the last date for vaccinations in states draw closer.
The Republican Governor also said that if officers were not being treated well, they would be treated better in Florida. He said that the police officers could fill in important needs for the state and they would be compensated, “as a result.”
On Monday, DeSantis’ office sent a statement to The Hill which said that bonuses would be available to any law enforcement officer who wanted to relocate to Florida and that their vaccinated status would not be taken into consideration.
Statistics released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that COVID-19 related deaths among police officers was much higher than deaths of all other causes combined in 2020.
The head of the National Fraternal Order of Police requested its officers to “seriously consider” getting vaccinated so that they could protect themselves as well as others and prevent serious illnesses. It also noted that the group championed the individual rights of officers and said that they should have the freedom to decide whether they wished to get vaccinated or not.