DeSantis denies report that Florida is recruiting unvaccinated police officers

Governor Ron DeSantis wants police officers from northern cities to fill vacancies in Florida departments. And, he says, their COVID-19 vaccination status doesn’t matter. 

While in southern Sarasota County on Monday, he denied a report that he’s focusing on unvaccinated officers who might lose their jobs in other states

"It’s for officers, period. It has nothing to do with their vaccination status. That’s just wrong," said the governor.

DeSantis is proposing a $5,000 payment to officers who come to Florida. 

"We’re looking to capitalize off a lot of communities across our country who have turned their back on law enforcement," he continued.

RELATED: Chicago police may deny benefits to officers who choose retirement over vaccine mandate

Several Florida departments have traveled to northern cities to recruit. Lakeland police officer Matthew Spoto was a New York City officer when a representative from Lakeland recruited him right out of Times Square. 

"He said, ‘You can park your police vehicle in front of your house’ and to me, that was mind-blowing," Spoto said last month. "I used to tell people I was a bartender. It was like I was ashamed to be a law enforcement officer."

RELATED: Gov. DeSantis proposes legislation to recruit out-of-state officers, retain talent in Florida

On Thursday, DeSantis called on the Florida legislature to hold a special session with the aim of banning vaccine mandates in his state.

The Republican governor said he will convene a special session of the GOP-controlled statehouse in November to address vaccine requirements. He did not specify a starting date.