With the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack days away, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday highlighted the actions of police and vowed to defend them from calls to defund law enforcement.
Speaking in DeFuniak Springs, the Republican Governor lauded the heroics of on-scene responders and described the fateful day among the most “significant” in American history.
Emergency workers, he emphasized, put themselves at great risk.
“They’re running into the building,” DeSantis said of the 110-story World Trade Center. “They’re taking people out. They’re going higher up to get more people out, knowing, in all likelihood, that they were not going to make it out themselves.”
DeSantis rebuked Democratic-controlled cities such as Seattle and Portland. They, he charged, “turned their back” on police amid calls to defund law enforcement last summer.
Their alleged treatment of police, however, may be an opportunity for Florida.
“When the morale is so low in some of these parts of the country and people aren’t supporting them, our view is there’s needs in law enforcement in Florida,” DeSantis said. “We need more people to be involved. There’s spaces available.”
The Governor’s remarks come days after he unveiled plans to attract more candidates into Florida’s law enforcement community.
Via a legislative package, DeSantis intends to offer a $5,000 signing bonus to new law enforcement officers in Florida.
“We really have an opportunity here in Florida, given what’s gone on in the rest of the country, to really be a leader,” DeSantis said. “This package I think is going to sail through the Legislature when we go next Session, and it sends a very clear, clear message.”
Like many other states, Florida is struggling to address the exodus of law enforcement officers away from the profession. Thousands of law officers have quit and agencies are struggling to recruit after the murder of George Floyd and others at the hands of police.
But while other areas in the nation may have pitched more progressive reforms such as reducing police budgets, DeSantis vowed to hold his ground.
“Last summer, law enforcement was under the barrel and I said, ‘I’m standing with these guys,’” DeSantis said . “This is totally unfair what they’re doing to them.”
Well-funded police, DeSantis contended, are necessary to protect communities.
“If you go down the road of defunding law enforcement, you’re going have hell to pay on the back end,” he warned.