Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is encouraging police officers from the Chicago area to consider relocating to Florida, following a new Illinois law that lets some non-citizens join the police force.
Billboard Campaign to Recruit Officers
“Citizenship Matters. Law Enforcement Matters,” reads DeSantis’ billboards in greater Chicago. “Make the Smart Move to Florida!”
The Program Is Bringing Results
DeSantis’ “make the smart move” billboards appear to delivering results so far. More than 2,700 law enforcement recruits have signed up under the recruitment drive, including 750 from 48 states, according to DeSantis’ office.
The billboards also feature a $5,000 bonus for out-of-state police officers who move to Florida. DeSantis signed the state law enforcement recruitment bonus payment program into law in 2022.
Officers Don’t Have to Be Citizens Under New Illinois Law
Under the new law, certain non-citizens can apply for police officer jobs. However, they must be legally authorized to both work and carry a firearm in the United States.
Insights From Legal Experts
Immigration law experts say this includes lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, as well as those in the country with permanent legal status but not yet full citizens, such as refugees and asylees.
“Fundamentally Bad Idea”
Illinois House Bill 3751 signed by Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker was slammed by critics as a “fundamentally bad idea,” as it no longer requires citizenship to become a police officer in the state.
Federal Law Still Requires Citizenship
However, the US federal law still prohibits non-U.S. citizens from serving as police officers and deputies.
DeSantis Criticizes the New Illinois Law
He said Florida “strongly supports law enforcement” and has consistently enacted “commonsense criminal justice policies” to keep its communities safe.
“We Stand Behind Our Citizen Officers”
“We stand behind our citizen officers, and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally. 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.”
Pritzker Defends the Bill
Pritzker defended the measure in response to Republican attacks, adding that the bill is limited to those people who are legally allowed to work in the United States and can legally possess firearms.
Pritzker: Republicans Misrepresenting the Bill
Pritzker said Republicans are misinterpreting the bill. “I am tired of the right-wing twisting things,” he said.
“They Put It on Facebook, They Tell Lies”
“They put it on Facebook, they tell lies. There are people out there that think we’re just allowing anybody to become a police officer. That’s just not accurate.”
Illinois Also Eliminates Cash Bail
Cash bail in Illinois will also end next year. The bill survived a legal challenge from prosecutors and sheriffs in counties who said the law was unconstitutional, diminished public safety and put law enforcement at risk.
Pretrial Detainment Based on Several Factors
Pritzker said the move means pretrial detainment will be based on “the danger an individual poses to the community instead of by their ability to pay their way out of jail.”
Illinois Has a Shortage of Police Officers
Illinois is facing police shortages across the state as it has low recruitment and retention numbers.
Staffing Numbers Are at the Lowest
Chicago Police Department staffing numbers reached the lowest in recent history in March 2022.
Attempting to Mitigate the Issue
The department waived the minimum 60 college credits for some candidates and offered online testing opportunities to mitigate the issue.
The Bill Goes Into Effect Next Year
The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2024, despite heavy opposition from Republican lawmakers and police groups.
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The post “Make the Smart Move to Florida!” – DeSantis Offers $5,000 Incentive to Attract Chicago Cops in the Shadow of Illinois’ Polarizing Non-citizen Police Recruitment Law first appeared on Fistful of Dollars.
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