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Florida enacts new measures designed to protect law enforcement officers

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(The Center Square) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law several measures on Friday intended to protect and support law enforcement officers.

Senate Bill 184 increases penalties for those who knowingly harass, physically harm or impede a law enforcement officer or other first responders from carrying out their duties to a second-degree misdemeanor.

House Bill 601 prevents anti-police activists from carrying out extrajudicial investigations against law enforcement. The bill ensures that allegations against law enforcement are investigated by those properly trained to handle such investigations. County sheriffs will also receive an increase in their base salary of $5,000 for each population group.

DeSantis said during a news conference that his administration has a track record of supporting law enforcement in Florida.

“We’ve developed a track record in Florida of supporting law enforcement that is quite simply, second to none,” DeSantis said. “We understood how important it is to have safe communities, and the way you do that is to support the people that are putting the uniform on and risking their lives to keep us safe.”

DeSantis noted that it was essential that his administration and the Legislature took this position after other states began to defund police. He added that because of this, many law enforcement officers wanted to leave their careers.

“We saw that as an opportunity for the state of Florida, given our posture was much different,” DeSantis said. “So, a couple of years ago, we enacted $5,000 recruitment bonuses for new law enforcement officers, some of that is recruiting from other states, but also, young people have decided to go into the profession in Florida.”

DeSantis pointed out that since the recruitment bonuses were offered, over 400 law enforcement officers from other states, namely California, Illinois and New York, have moved to Florida.

“That’s not by accident, they’re doing that because they don’t have the support of the community, a lot of these politicians weaponize against them, and a lot of the laws are so lax that it gives the criminals the advantage to be able to commit crimes really without major repercussions,” DeSantis said.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass said that the new legislation protects the rights of law enforcement and ensures they remain safe while on the job.

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