HomeState governmentGovernor Ron DeSantis recruits Illinois law enforcement officers through bonus program
Governor Ron DeSantis recruits Illinois law enforcement officers through bonus program
September 14, 2023
Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the state of Florida is launching billboards in the Greater Chicago Area, where crime rates are soaring, to recruit law enforcement officers to the Sunshine State. Through the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program, out-of-state police officers who relocate to Florida will receive a $5,000 signing bonus.
Under Illinois law, foreign nationals are now able to become police officers. Additionally, earlier this year, Illinois became the first state to completely eliminate its cash bail system, allowing dangerous criminals back into communities. In contrast, Governor DeSantis has signed historic law-and-order legislation for three consecutive years, including House Bill 1627 earlier this year, which protects Floridians from these disastrous “bail reform” policies being pushed by liberal politicians and prosecutors in high-crime jurisdictions across the country.
“Florida strongly supports law enforcement and has consistently enacted commonsense criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We stand behind our citizen officers, and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally. Other states deputize non-citizens, enact policies that favor criminals over victims, and work to overtly or covertly defund the police, but not in Florida. I look forward to welcoming the Illinois men and women in blue to the law-and-order state.”
In late July, the Governor of Illinois signed legislation that allows noncitizens to become police officers. Specifically, the bill states foreign nationals who “are legally authorized under federal law to work in the United States” or any foreign national who “is an individual against whom immigration action has been deferred by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process” can apply to become a police officer in the state.
In 2022, Governor DeSantis signed the nation’s strongest law enforcement recruitment legislation, called the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program, which was designed to encourage Floridians to join the profession and attract out-of-state recruits or experienced officers to relocate to Florida. The program administers one-time bonus payments of $5,000 after taxes to each eligible newly employed officer within the state.
To date, more than 2,700 law enforcement recruits from 48 states and two U.S. territories have relocated to Florida, including more than 230 recruits from California, New York, and Pennsylvania, and more than 37 from Illinois. Each of the more than 2,300 law enforcement officers has received a $5,000 bonus after taxes, bringing the total amount awarded through the program to more than $15 million to date.
In addition to a $5,000 recruitment bonus, benefits of becoming a law enforcement officer in Florida include financial stability, upward mobility, excellent health and retirement benefits, student loan forgiveness programs, home loan programs, and more.
Florida has also established the Hometown Heroes program to help local hometown heroes like law enforcement officers, firefighters, military veterans, and active-duty military personnel afford to purchase their first home in the communities they serve. The program provides down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible homebuyers who are purchasing a home for the first time or buyers who have moved to Florida and are purchasing their first home in the state.