(NewsNation) — There’s been a push to get police officers from major U.S. cities to move to Florida, and the weather and the sunshine aren’t the only features drawing them to the Sunshine State.
“There’s a lot of reasons, the weather obviously is one,” said Matthew Molitor, a former Chicago police officer who now works in St. Petersburg near Tampa. “I left in March of last year.”
The weather has always been a big draw for people to move to Florida, but now officials are making a push, even offering officers bonuses, to move.
Morale is a big reason Molitor said he packed up his things in Chicago and headed south.
“It’s definitely a more pro-police state,” Molitor said.
“Coming from Chicago, where police are always seen as the bad guys, we’re always stuck in the middle on both sides. It’s never like, ‘Hey, we’re on your side, or we’re not.’ Coming down here, it was like a breath of fresh air.”
Molitor said another big appeal was lower housing costs and no state income tax.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis late last year said 600 police officers had taken him up on a recruitment program offering a $5,000 bonus for newly employed Florida law enforcement.
At an event just this week in the Chicago area, DeSantis again was looking to recruit officers.
“Anybody who’s interested in coming down,” he said, “if you want to be a part of our law enforcement community, just know that the door is open.”
Advertisements are running in New York and Chicago right now.
Spero Georgedakis, the man behind the ads, is a former Miami police officer himself.
“I was fortunate enough that I was hired at 19, and the allure of the sunshine,” Georgedakis said. “That might be a part of it for these officers today, but I think another part of it is economical for their families and then also from the professional standpoint, morale is a far bigger thing than maybe is being given credit here.”