Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that the state is launching a billboard campaign in Chicago, Illinois, to recruit law enforcement officers to the state of Florida.
“We are launching law enforcement recruitment billboards in Chicago, where crime rates are soaring and officers are unappreciated,” DeSantis wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “While dozens of Illinois officers have already relocated to Florida, we look forward to welcoming many more with open arms and a $5,000 bonus.”
The billboard shows an image of a police officer and says, “Citizenship matters. Law enforcement matters.”
“Make the Smart Move to Florida!” the billboard added. “$5,000 bonus for new officer recruits.”
The billboard directs those who are interested to visit floridajobs.org.
We are launching law enforcement recruitment billboards in Chicago, where crime rates are soaring and officers are unappreciated.
While dozens of Illinois officers have already relocated to Florida, we look forward to welcoming many more with open arms and a $5,000 bonus. pic.twitter.com/kpVBOW3nLW
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 14, 2023
A statement from the governor’s office highlighted the contrast in the operating environment that recruits face in Illinois vs. Florida:
Under Illinois law, foreign nationals are now able to become police officers. Additionally, earlier this year, Illinois became the first state to completely eliminate its cash bail system, allowing dangerous criminals back into communities. In contrast, Governor DeSantis has signed historic law-and-order legislation for three consecutive years, including House Bill 1627 earlier this year, which protects Floridians from these disastrous “bail reform” policies being pushed by liberal politicians and prosecutors in high-crime jurisdictions across the country.
“Florida strongly supports law enforcement and has consistently enacted commonsense criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe,” DeSantis said. “We stand behind our citizen officers, and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally. Other states deputize non-citizens, enact policies that favor criminals over victims, and work to overtly or covertly defund the police, but not in Florida. I look forward to welcoming the Illinois men and women in blue to the law-and-order state.”
The statement said that a program that DeSantis signed into law in 2022, the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program, has led to more than 2,700 law enforcement recruits joining the police forces in the state, including 750 recruits from 48 states.