DeSantis pitches increase in law enforcement pay

Promoting Florida as a “greener pasture” for law enforcement officers, Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday, November 29, raised a plan to increase salaries and bonuses as part of his upcoming budget proposal.

DeSantis said the budget he will propose next week for the 2022 legislative session will include $73 million to increase salaries for officers at the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Minimum wages for junior officers will rise by 20%, while veterans’ salaries will rise by 25%.

The proposal will also include a second round of $1,000 rewards for first responders as a show of appreciation for work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last summer, we made it clear that we (law enforcement officers) were ready. “We wanted to make sure our communities were safe,” DeSantis said while flanked by officers and motorbikes inside the Florida Highway Patrol Troop D building in Orlando. “And we wanted to show our appreciation because because Other jurisdictions have been defunding law enforcement, or withdrawing money, we will fund and then some.”

DeSantis’ budget proposal will serve as a starting point for lawmakers, who will negotiate the final spending plan for the fiscal year that begins in July. DeSantis also brought up parts of the budget proposals for the environment and education. The legislative session will begin on January 11th.

DeSantis on Monday reiterated his intention to secure $5,000 bonuses to help place law enforcement officers in Florida, along with scholarships for students at law enforcement academies and free certification exams.

“We feel we have a strategic opportunity, to have an advantage and to recruit, not only the great people in our state to join in, which we will do, but also some of the best across the country, who are looking for greener pastures,” DeSantis said.

The current median salary for state soldiers is about $45,000, while the average salary for soldiers in all states is about $53,000.

In October, the Department of Highway and Automotive Safety submitted a $24.4 million funding request to the legislature to increase soldiers’ salaries to become more competitive with local law enforcement agencies across the state.

“One of the things we constantly hear about (from individual soldiers) is, ‘Where are we going to be in 10 years, 15 years. The Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on 15 October.

Calaway said the number of vacancies for soldiers has grown from 198 in August to 238, “most often because of a lack of wages.”

Other parts of DeSantis’ funding proposal on Monday included $11 million to raise the minimum wage for Juvenile Justice Department detention officers to $17 an hour and juvenile probation officers to $19 an hour.

The funding request will also include $124 million to increase the base salary of corrections officers in state prisons and more than $1 million to increase the salaries of state-specific hazard firefighters by $2,500 annually.

DeSantis said the Department of Corrections is asking to “build” a plan approved this month by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to give corrections officers base pay increases of at least $5,000 and newly hired officers a one-time bonus of $3,000.

The legislative plan, intended to alleviate the Department of Corrections’ chronic staffing shortage, called for the basic salary of prison staff to be $38,750, down from $33,500. She called for a basic salary of $36,850 to $42,100 for the sergeant; $40,535 to $45,535 for lieutenants; And from $44,589 to $49,589 for captains.

The plan is funded by $67.8 million in savings derived from closing the New River Correctional Facility in Bradford County, closing 73 residences in facilities scattered across Florida and placing 1,290 permanent “in reserve” jobs at the Department of Corrections.

Veteran corrections officers earning more than base salary will receive annual salary increases of $1,500.

The plan also gave the Department of Corrections the authority to hand out one-time bonuses of $3,000 to new employees, $1,500 to corrections employees and $3,000 to probation officers.

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