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Illinois FOP doesn’t blame police officers moving to Florida

Photo caption: A Chicago police vehicle Andrew Hensel / The Center Square

The president of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police doesn’t blame police officers taking up Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ offer to move to The Sunshine State.

DeSantis’ office announced last week they are putting up billboards in the greater Chicago area with the offer of a $5,000 bonus to move to Florida. A news release from DeSantis’ office said around 37 Illinois police officers have taken the state up on the offer so far.

“Under Illinois law, foreign nationals are now able to become police officers,” the news release said. “Additionally, earlier this year, Illinois became the first state to completely eliminate its cash bail system, allowing dangerous criminals back into communities. In contrast, Governor DeSantis has signed historic law-and-order legislation for three consecutive years, including House Bill 1627 earlier this year, which protects Floridians from these disastrous ‘bail reform’ policies being pushed by liberal politicians and prosecutors in high-crime jurisdictions across the country.”

Illinois state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, said it’s a free country.

“People have the right to go and work and live wherever they want in the United States, they’re citizens,” Ammons said Monday when asked by The Center Square about Florida’s offer. “So if they so chose to go to Florida, it’s beautiful.”

Illinois state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana. (BlueRoomStream)

Illinois Fraternal Order of Police President Chris Southwood said he doesn’t blame any officers wanting to move to Florida as he said it seems Illinois politicians care more for criminals than law-abiding citizens and police.

“With the SAFE-T Act and now the no-cash bail and you look at what’s going on in Chicago, look what just happened this weekend with a Chicago officer … being brutally beaten by an illegal immigrant,” Southwood told The Center Square.

Police officer salaries on average in Florida are around $56,500, as compiled by Police officers in Illinois make around $69,000 a year on average.

Southwood said some may be swayed by Florida’s offer. Others won’t.

“Sure we may make more but at the same time there’s a lot to be said for how you’re treated and how well you’re supported,” Southwood said. “And you can clearly see in Illinois, Illinois law enforcement are not very well supported, certainly by the political establishment.”

DeSantis said Florida stands behind their citizen officers, “and we give them the tools to succeed professionally and personally.”

“I look forward to welcoming the Illinois men and women in blue to the law-and-order state,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Ammons said police have a difficult job and morale is always an issue.

“But morale can certainly be awakened and improved by following the law,” Ammons said. “Don’t make it more difficult than it really needs to be.”

Florida has spent $15 million for the national recruitment effort so far.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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