Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has launched a billboard campaign in Chicago offering sign-on bonuses for law enforcement to relocate to the Sunshine State.
The campaign follows Illinois’ recent move, signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, allowing noncitizens to become police officers in the state by the beginning of next year.
“Citizenship Matters. Law Enforcement Matters,” reads the new Chicago billboards. “Make the Smart Move to Florida!”
The billboard also touts the Sunshine State’s $5,000 bonus for new officer recruits, per DeSantis’ 2022 Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program, and directs interested parties to floridajobs.org.
“We are launching law enforcement recruitment billboards in Chicago, where crime rates are soaring and officers are unappreciated,” DeSantis wrote in an X post. “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.”
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
“Florida strongly supports law enforcement and has consistently enacted commonsense criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe,” said DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, in a statement per Fox News.
“We stand behind our citizen officers, and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally,” the Florida governor continued. “Other states deputize noncitizens, 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.”
Florida’s Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program incentivizing law enforcement officers to relocate to the Sunshine State launched in December 2022.
“Law enforcement officers are choosing Florida because we have delivered on our promise to back the men and women who keep Florida families safe and that message has been heard loud and clear across the nation,” Governor DeSantis said of the program at the time. “We are proud to welcome law enforcement officers from across the nation to Florida and are grateful for the Floridians who have chosen this important vocation.”
Illinois’ bill states “an individual who is not a citizen but is legally authorized to work in the United States under federal law is authorized to apply for the position of police officer, subject to all requirements and limitations, other than citizenship, to which other applicants are subject.”
Non-United States citizens must also be able to obtain, carry, purchase, and possess a firearm under federal law, per Illinois’ new law.
Illinois also eliminated cash bail, which takes effect on Sept. 18.
Governor Pritzker said the elimination of cash bail would result in pretrial detainment being based on “the danger an individual poses to the community instead of by their ability to pay their way out of jail.”