Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., signed a bill into law last week giving Florida police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel $1,000 bonuses within the next few weeks as a thank-you for their hard work keeping communities safe.
DeSantis, who has been a fervent supporter of law enforcement, said he believes it is important to show appreciation to those who serve, given how poorly they have been treated in the past year.
During a press conference last week, the governor started the “Florida’s Heroes” initiative by personally handing out bonus checks to officers at Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“We showed our appreciation here in the state of Florida for the folks that wore the uniform. So I proposed that we do thousand-dollar bonuses for all sworn law enforcement officers in the state of Florida,” said the governor. “That’s almost 50 thousand people, as well as fire and EMT’s, our first responders.”
DeSantis continued by explaining the process that helped make these bonuses a reality.
“We thought it was a good idea, we were hoping to get the support for it, and we were able to get it through the legislature. I signed the bill into law, I signed the bill with the budget into law in June, and so then that made it a reality. But then we had to actually do it from the administrative perspective,” said the governor.
In the spring, Florida legislators set aside $208 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act stimulus package to help cover bonuses for more than 193,000 state and local first responders. This includes more than 49,000 law enforcement officers, 40,000 EMT’s, 35,000 firefighters, and 33,000 paramedics across the state.
“First responders work every single day, no matter the conditions, to keep us safe,” said the governor. “That was perhaps never more apparent than during the last year and a half during the pandemic. I am proud to deliver these checks to show our immense gratitude for their service.”
Teachers and principals will also receive $1,000 bonuses from the state. DeSantis described the $216 million in federal stimulus money for Florida educators as “a token of the appreciation” for school employees who worked amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While many first responders and educators have already received their bonuses, anyone who has not received a check yet should receive it by the end of this month, according to officials.