The Phoenix Flyer

Florida police union endorses Gov. DeSantis for reelection next year

By: - November 12, 2021 2:58 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis distributed bonus checks to police and other first responders in August 2021. Credit: Governor’s office

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been one of police officers’ most enthusiastic advocates since the George Floyd murder prompted nationwide protests over police violence.

Now the Florida Police Benevolent Association, representing 30,000 law and corrections officers, has returned the favor, endorsing the Republican governor for reelection next year.

“He insists that the men and women of law enforcement and corrections be treated with the utmost respect. His ‘Law and Order’ agenda continues to support and defend the citizens of our state amid the vicious attacks against the law enforcement community by the radical segments of our society,” PBA President John Kazanjian said in a written statement distributed by the governor’s office on Friday.

“We know that he will protect law enforcement officers from the threat of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement, while also creating an environment that recruits and retains the best and brightest sworn law enforcement officers our country as to offer. We have his back and we know he has ours,” Kazanjian added.

The announcement came one week to the day after DeSantis filed papers with the Florida Division of Elections opening his campaign but he has been angling for reelection for months, making policy announcements before crowds of enthusiastic supporters and holding campaign fundraisers as far afield as California.

As of Friday, the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee had more than $62 million in cash on hand.

“Unlike many of the liberal cities and states across America that shame police, we’ve created an environment in Florida that supports the women and men who keep our communities safe,” DeSantis said in his own statement.

“From $1,000 bonus checks to banning sanctuary cities and signing the strongest anti-rioting legislation in the country, I have been a fierce advocate for Florida’s police officers. I will continue to stand up for the men and women who risk their lives daily keeping Floridians safe.”

Although Black Lives Matter protests in Florida and the national overall during the summer of 2020 were largely peaceful, DeSantis preferred to focus on the isolated violence that broke out in cities including Portland, Ore.

He pushed a law through the Legislature threatening activists with felony penalties if protests sparked violence, even if they weren’t responsible, but in September a federal judge in Tallahassee barred its enforcement pending further review, concluding that it chilled First Amendment rights.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.