Ashley Moody unveils statewide police recruitment website amid ongoing staffing woes
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Police
Florida’s recruitment push comes as agencies struggle to hire and retain police.

With Florida scrambling to recruit and retain law enforcement officers, Attorney General Ashley Moody launched a new initiative Thursday to attract jobseekers into the ranks of Florida’s police community.

Named ‘Be a Florida Hero,’ the new website promotes career opportunities in all 67 counties and praises Florida as a prime destination for law enforcement officers. Respect for police, an affordable cost of living and outdoor recreation are among the intangibles highlighted on the website.

The website also shares the contact information of recruiters as well as descriptions for each branch of law enforcement. The goal, Moody said, is to create a one-stop law enforcement shop.

“Florida is the most pro-law enforcement state in the nation,” Moody said in a news release. “We want officers from areas that don’t value their service to know that here in the Sunshine State, we back our blue. Florida enjoys a long tradition of supporting law enforcement, and we have leadership that understands and appreciates what it takes to protect and serve.”

The new recruitment initiative marks the state’s latest effort to lure out-of-state police officers and jobseekers into the Sunshine State. DeSantis in September unveiled a slew of plans to attract more candidates, including a $5,000 signing bonus for all newcomers. The one-time bonus would apply to new officers as well as out-of-state officers who transfer to departments in Florida.

“As many areas of the country are defunding the police, I want law enforcement officers across the country to know that in Florida, we have your back,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Not only did we pass one of the most comprehensive pro-police laws in the nation this year, we are also pursuing legislation this upcoming Session to help recruit and retain high-quality law enforcement talent in Florida. This new initiative will further enhance Florida’s recruitment efforts.”

The Republican Governor’s recruitment package also aims to streamline the hiring process for out-of-state officers. Under the proposal, Florida will offer the police certification exam at no cost to out-of-state cops as well as offer up to $1,000 toward Equivalency of Training (EOT) process costs. That process — reserved for out-of-state officers and federal officers, among others — provides abbreviated training and certification to law enforcement veterans from elsewhere.

Florida’s recruitment push comes as agencies nationwide struggle to recruit and retain police after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent riots and protests. Even among remaining officers, morale is low, according to the National Police Foundation.

The foundation describes a one-two punch: first the protests, then calls to reform or even defund, all followed by a resurgent pandemic that remains the leading cause of death among officers.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister suggested the site is a step in the right direction.

“The ‘Be A Florida Hero’ website gives our state an upper hand in recruiting the best of the best to service in each of our 67 counties, including right here in Hillsborough County,” Chronister said. “We are grateful for this new tool and look forward to the new talent who will utilize and later serve and protect our communities.”

More information about Be A Florida Hero is available online.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.



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