ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Pay for state law enforcement could soon be getting a big boost, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis spoke at the Florida Highway Patrol headquarters in Orlando on Monday to announce his proposal for increasing starting pay and boosting salaries for those already on the job.
FHP said when it comes to starting pay, Florida is only ahead of Mississippi for the lowest pay. DeSantis said he wants to change that.
“For the upcoming session in our budget, we are going to have some long-term support, particularly for state law enforcement agencies,” DeSantis said.
He’s proposing $73 million to increase the minimum pay for entry-level officers by 20% and increase pay for veteran officers by 25%.
“So that is going to be huge,” DeSantis said. “You’re talking about Highway Patrol, you’re talking about Fish and Wildlife, FDLE.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it hasn’t seen a hike in entry-level pay for officers since 2006.
At just under $42,000 a year, FHP has one of the lowest starting pays for troopers in the entire country.
FHP officials said they have not only a hard time recruiting, but for years have trained officers to only have troopers in Orange County jump ship to higher-paying agencies like the Orlando Police Department or Orange County Sheriff’s Office after just a few years.
Troopers said they are hoping the governor’s proposal goes through to help them become competitive in attracting and retaining good people.
“At the end of the day, you know, we need to retain people, we need to attract people and, and the compensation is a big part of that,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said he is also looking at another $135 million for correctional officers and juvenile justice officers.