Ron DeSantis says police recruitment bonuses target ‘mistreated’ cops, not just the unvaxxed
Ron DeSantis.

'It's for officers period. It has nothing to do with their vaccination status.'

In Venice Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made the case for bringing “mistreated” cops to Florida, stressing he intends his recruitment push to target more than just police officers who don’t want COVID-19 shots.

He wants officers who are disgruntled for a variety of reasons, he said, including an inability to “take that environment” in places like New York, Seattle, and Minneapolis, flash points in last year’s street protests in the wake of the George Floyd murder.

“We are 100% excited about saying that anyone that’s being mistreated, if the morale is low, if you can’t take that environment, and we have openings here, you’re going to get an environment where people are going to support you,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis elaborated on his proposal to pay police officers from other states $5,000 to come to Florida, first rolled out in September.

Contrary to reporting in recent days, he stressed he wasn’t just recruiting cops who refused COVID-19 vaccinations as conditions of employment.

“No, no, no, no,” DeSantis said to a reporter Monday. “It’s for officers period. It has nothing to do with their vaccination status. That’s just wrong. I think there was a headline from a corporate outlet. We all know corporate media lies, OK. They do not tell the truth. Assume what they tell you is false and then figure out why they are telling you a false narrative.”

The source of that “false narrative” is from a friendly interview the Governor did on Sunday, offering the latest example of how even soundbites only intended to be consumed by his political base come back to haunt DeSantis.

The Governor appeared on the Fox News Channel Sunday, promoting the $5,000 bonus scheme. Context suggested that unvaxxed cops were part of the recruitment strategy.

“In Florida, not only are we going to want to protect the law enforcement and all the jobs, we’re actually actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement because we do have needs in our police and our sheriff’s departments. In the next Legislative Session I’m going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a $5,000 bonus to any out-of-state law enforcement that moves to Florida,” DeSantis said Sunday.

The question from host Maria Bartiromo was framed around vaccine mandates for police and military members, with Bartiromo asking about Chicago cops walking off the job setting up the answer, suggesting to the Washington Post and others that DeSantis ultimately draws a connection between the bonuses and unvaccinated cops. DeSantis has referred to vaccinations as “injections” at various times, meanwhile, further muddling the narrative.

During remarks Monday in Venice, DeSantis noted his administration had hosted vaccination events for first responders earlier this year, further distancing himself from the idea that unvaccinated police officers are the recruitment targets. Rather, the Governor wants cops who feel “mistreated” and who have found constraints in other jurisdictions to be intolerable.

“I put that out there as a proposal months ago and the reason we’re doing it is because people are being treated poorly in Seattle, in Minnesota, in the NYPD. They don’t have support,” DeSantis lamented Monday. “They get criticized if they enforce the law.”

DeSantis added that in San Francisco, where he went this weekend for a fundraising trip, the law isn’t enforced at all and, “you have rampant crime” such as shoplifting

“That’s why we’re doing it. Because morale is low. Morale’s been low for years because of how law enforcement’s been treated. But when you saw all the rioting happening last summer, all the vitriol directed at them, Florida stood up and said we back the blue.”

“We’re looking to capitalize on a lot of communities around the country who have turned their back on law enforcement,” DeSantis added.

The Governor said those who have moved down already say “it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.”

Indeed, DeSantis has been recruiting cops from elsewhere since this summer, road testing tough rhetoric by way of welcoming prospective police officers.

“I do think you will see; I think you’ve already seen. But there are people in these police departments in various other parts of the country who, if they can get a job in Florida, they want to come to Florida to be able to do it,” DeSantis said in Green Cove Springs in July. “Because the culture is better, and they understand they’re going to be supported much more resolutely than what they do.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ron Ogden

    October 25, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Mistreated, untreated or retreated: it doesn’t matter. Law enforcement officers are welcome here. Cross-eyed store burners, no.

  • PeterH

    October 25, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    “Mistreated cops”

    I’m certain DeSantis is referring the 150 police who were pummeled with poles holding the American flag on January 6th.

    That makes DeSantis the first Republican to recognize that his supporters violated peace officers and the officers should be compensated.

  • Charles

    October 25, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    AJ – this is so biased it’s sickening. There is no excuse or justification for using works like
    the $5,000 bonus “scheme”
    “Context suggested” that unvaxxed cops were part of the recruitment
    road testing “tough rhetoric”
    This is yellow and sensationalized
    journalism . On what basis other then pure ignorance and journalistic dishonesty do you insert words like scheme, context, tough rhetoric.

  • ScienceBLVR

    October 25, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Mistreated cops?? How about all the mistreated educators and school staff members who have become ill or died because of DeSantis’s illegitimate and unscientific polices? Not only should first responders get the “injection” as he calls it, they should be wearing masks, too, when dealing with the public. And I am not quite sure I want a bunch of whiny “mistreated” officers here anyway.. Sometimes when a kid says they are being mistreated, they are just being asked to follow rules and processes that everyone has to follow.. Cops are no different. Every time i think DeSantis has gone as low as a governor can go, he defies logic and does something else more idiotic. And I know he ain’t dumb, so what gives?

    • Larry Lopez

      October 25, 2021 at 3:44 pm

      You’re right he isn’t dumb. He’s well aware that vaccinated or previously infected people have essentially nothing to fear from Covid. And unvaccinated people have decided to exercise their personal freedom and take a chance with covid. So mandating masks for everybody is unscientific. The only people that would benefit are ones that have made the personal choice to risk getting infected. It’s like mandating everybody to put mattresses on the front of their car to protect people that don’t want to wear seatbelts.

Comments are closed.


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