The Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the largest police union in the state, announced it is endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his 2022 gubernatorial reelection bid. The PBA represents more than 30,000 law enforcement and corrections officers.
PBA President John Kazanjian offered the organization’s support through a formal statement.
“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. 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.”
The support from Florida’s law enforcement community comes after DeSantis signed HB 1, known as the “anti-riot” legislation. Critics called it an attack on civil rights, but DeSantis said it provides Florida’s law enforcement officers with some of the best backing to prosecute criminals while ensuring First Amendment rights are respected.
“This legislation strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished,” DeSantis said in April. “Further, this legislation ensures that no community in the state engages in defunding of their police.”
However, in September, a judge issued a preliminary injunction against the law calling it “unconstitutional” and a “trap for the innocent.”
In response, the DeSantis administration said they would quickly be filing an appeal.
“There is a difference between a peaceful protest and a riot, and Floridians do not want to see the mayhem and violence associated with riots in their communities,” said DeSantis’ communications director Taryn Fenske.
DeSantis has also launched initiatives to recruit law enforcement officers from progressive states.
“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,” DeSantis said. “I will continue to stand up for the men and women who risk their lives daily keeping Floridians safe.”
– – –
Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Florida Police Benevolent Association Endorses Governor Ron DeSantis” by Florida Police Benevolent Association.