$10 million in funding, $1,000 bonuses for SWFL first responders

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Gov. DeSantis allocated $10 million in funding for Florida's Urban Search and Rescue teams and promised $1,000 bonuses to first responders.
First responders cleaning up after the Surfside condo collapse. Credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue

Gov. Ron DeSantis has allocated $10 million in state funding for Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue teams and promised another round of $1,000 bonuses for first responders.

The state’s eight urban Search and Rescue teams are typically the first boots to hit the ground when disasters like hurricanes and building collapses happen across Florida. The money will be used to support those teams by providing them with vital equipment and helping them get the training they need to immediately respond to disasters. These teams play an important role after a hurricane, for instance, by conducting search and rescue missions and providing lifesaving actions to devastated areas.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno says DeSantis’ millions in funding and promised $1,000 bonuses are proof of continued support of law enforcement and its efforts.

“When you look at law enforcement, people from all over come to the state of Florida,” Marceno said. “It’s not just palm trees and beaches—they have law and order here. They’re safe, this state has been open, we’ve been open throughout some of the most difficult times in the pandemic.”

Marceno says things like the bonuses will help attract more law enforcement officers to Southwest Florida.

“Our great governor, Ron DeSantis has made it a point from day one to support law enforcement, give us all the tools that we need to do our job… and with this incentive, I mean, I am proud to say when I first came into office we had 121 positions down. We have a waiting list and people from all over want to leave where it snows, they want to leave those taxes, they want to come to a great state like Florida with a great governor, with great leadership, and this incentive will help us out huge.”

The Florida Urban Search and Rescue system was created in 2001. Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, says this new funding will save lives.

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