It seems that law enforcement officers up north are moving to Florida to be welcomed with open arms.
For example, take the Big Apple. More than a dozen officers from New York City’s Police Department have moved to Lakeland, according to the New York Post.
“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,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told the outlet.
Florida law enforcement agencies use those feelings to their advantage by advertising jobs in New York.
According to Jay O’Brien, CBS affiliate WPEC, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office launched a social media campaign encouraging officers to move to Florida. Screengrab of the sponsored advertisement suggests that officers from New York will be eligible for a $4,000 relocation reimbursement and a $5,000 signing bonus if they make a “lateral” transfer.
Matt Spoto, a former NYPD officer for two years, said that he found out about the Lakeland Police Department via Facebook. He then stopped by the Times Square recruitment event.
“It was an eye-opener. He said that you could park your police vehicles in front of your house and, to me, I thought that was mind-blowing. I used to have to lie about what I used to do. I used to have to tell people that I was like a bartender cause I was — it was almost like I was ashamed to be a law enforcement officer,” Spoto said.
According to city information, the starting salary for an NYPD officer is $42,500. According to the Ledger, this is a significant increase from the $52,842 that first-year officers receive in Lakeland.
The “strides Governor. Spoto claims that Ron DeSantis’s work in law enforcement has also contributed to his migration south.
DeSantis stated earlier this year that he hopes to sign a law giving a $5,000 state-level bonus to any police officers from other states who move to Florida.
“We’re looking to capitalize off a lot of communities across our country who have turned their back on law enforcement, who aren’t providing them the support. Where there’s all kinds of different problems with just being able to do the job,” DeSantis told reporters at the time.
State lawmakers must still approve the bonus.
As a token of appreciation for their hard work and perseverance during the pandemic, first responders in Florida were also awarded a $1,000 bonus in 2021.