Florida Gov. DeSantis recruits unvaccinated officers with cash bonuses

Police officers who risk losing their jobs for not wanting to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or make their vaccination statuses known could get $5,000 bonuses to work in Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday on Fox News that he wants out-of-state officers and sheriff’s deputies to help patrol the state.

“We’re actually actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement, because we do have needs,” DeSantis, a Republican, told host Maria Bartiromo. “So in our next legislative session, I’m going to hopefully sign legislation that gives a bonus to any out-of-state law enforcement that relocates in Florida.”

DeSantis mentioned the New York City, Minneapolis and Seattle police departments as possible targets. The Chicago Police Department could also be an option.

New York City has announced that city employees — including police officers and firefighters — must get vaccinated or be placed on unpaid leave.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is at odds with the Fraternal Order of Police over her mandate for all city employees to report their vaccination statuses or be placed on unpaid leave.

The mandate is being challenged in court.

DeSantis claimed in the interview that vaccination mandates are unconstitutional, that they diminish people’s right to choose and that they hurt nurses and officers.

“It will wreak havoc in the economy, because even if a small percentage of these folks end up losing their jobs or voluntarily walking away, you’re going to have huge disruption in medical, in logistics, in law enforcement,” he said. “And so, in Florida, our policy is very clear: We’re going to have a special session, and we’re going to say nobody should lose their job based off these injections.”

DeSantis then tried to poach any officers who might be disgruntled or unhappy about getting vaccinated.

“If you’re not being treated well, we’ll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us,” he said.

In Los Angeles, city workers without approved exemptions must be vaccinated or face termination on Dec. 18.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle on Monday that vaccines would save the lives of his officers and their families. About 70 percent of the police department has been vaccinated.

“We want to make sure they’re educated. We want to make sure they’re following the science,” Moore said. “Ultimately, the vaccine mandate that the city is imposing on all of its employees, I think it will help.”

DeSantis isn’t the first official to try to poach law enforcement officers.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said this month that Chicago officers are welcome in his state.

“Come on in to Indiana. We are a state of choice and free enterprise,” Braun said an interview on Fox News. “You’ll have choices individually.”

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