Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Police Relocation Program Has Lured Officers With Violent Records, Including Charges of Murder, Kidnapping, and Brutality
by Miles Dyson
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has spent more than $13.5 million to lure police officers from other states to Florida with a recruitment bonus program. But a study of state documents has found that a sizable number of the officers who have taken advantage of the program have histories of excessive violence or have been arrested for crimes including kidnapping and murder.
The program, which DeSantis touted in 2021 as an incentive to officers in other states frustrated by Covid-19 vaccination mandates, has been criticized by civil rights groups and some law enforcement experts who say it could lead to an increase in police violence in Florida.
The study, which was conducted by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, found that at least 17 officers who have received the recruitment bonus have been accused of misconduct or have been arrested for crimes. The offenses include excessive use of force, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
In one case, an officer who was hired by the Tampa Police Department in 2021 was accused of using excessive force against a suspect. The officer, who had been fired from his previous job for the same offense, was later acquitted of the charges.
In another case, an officer who was hired by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 2021 was arrested for domestic violence. The officer, who had been arrested for domestic violence on several previous occasions, was later fired.
The study also found that some of the officers who have received the recruitment bonus have been involved in fatal shootings. In one case, an officer who was hired by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in 2021 shot and killed an unarmed man. The officer, who was later cleared of any wrongdoing, was previously involved in two other fatal shootings.
The study’s findings have raised concerns about the safety of Floridians and the integrity of the state’s law enforcement agencies. Civil rights groups have called on DeSantis to suspend the recruitment bonus program until it can be reformed.
“This program is a danger to the public,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “It’s allowing officers with violent records to come to Florida and put our communities at risk.”
DeSantis has defended the program, saying that it is necessary to attract qualified officers to Florida. He has also said that the officers who have been accused of misconduct or arrested for crimes have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
“These are good officers who are being targeted by the media and the left,” DeSantis said. “They’re being smeared for doing their jobs.”
The study’s findings have cast a shadow over DeSantis’ recruitment bonus program. It remains to be seen whether the program will continue to be funded or whether it will be reformed.
Source: The Guardian
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