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Rick Scott wants another raise for state law enforcement

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Gov. Rick Scott wants the state’s highway patrol troopers, wildlife officers and law-enforcement agents to get another pay raise.

Scott announced the proposal Wednesday during a visit to a Florida Highway Patrol station in Jacksonville.

This year legislators agreed to give the state’s nearly 4,000 sworn-law enforcement officers a 5 percent raise. Scott wants to set aside an additional $30 million in 2018, a number that would roughly double the financial commitment made recently.

In a statement, the governor said the money could be used to recruit and retain officers. But Scott said each agency would come up with a plan to parcel out the raises.

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen noted that the money would be used to “recruit seasoned investigators,” helping to reverse a trend of losing “the best and the brightest” to other jurisdictions.

Scott will include the request in budget recommendations he’ll give legislators later this year. The Florida Legislature will consider the pay raise during the regular session that starts in January.

In Jacksonville, Gov. Scott was accompanied by Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Kim Daniels, along with law enforcement leaders who lauded the proposal.

Scott noted that the job of law enforcement officers is only getting harder, with officers “targeted for the uniform they were” — an all too topical point given that a Jacksonville policeman, Jeremy Mason, was shot less than 24 hours ago on the Northside of town.

Scott noted that he had been talking to law enforcement across the state, and “heard firsthand how grateful they are” for the raise, which he sees as something to build on.

“I will keep fighting,” Scott vowed.

The legislators echoed the Governor’s sentiments.

Sen. Bradley asserted that “the people of the State of Florida are behind you 100 percent,” noting that state officers have had raises three of the last five years.

Rep. Daniels, a Desert Storm veteran, noted that in that theater “we got extra pay for being in the midst of war.”

For law enforcement, Daniels added, “every day is a war.”

Also supporting the proposal: Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam, who hopes to succeed Gov. Scott next year.

“Our state law enforcement officers deserve all the support we can give them, as they’ve achieved a 46-year crime low and face unprecedented challenges, such as the current opioid crisis.

“Our 240 law enforcement officers with the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement and their peers at other state law enforcement agencies deserve a raise. In order to recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers to keep Floridians and visitors safe, this is a much-needed step in the right direction. I thank Governor Scott for this proposal.”

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A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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