The largest police union in the state of Florida has chosen to endorse Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024, after backing President Donald Trump in 2020.
In a Monday press statement, Florida Police Benevolent Association (Florida PBA) President John Kazanjian announced the police union’s decision to back DeSantis, crediting the governor and presidential candidate with enhancing public safety in Florida.
“The ideological experiment of defunding the police and scapegoating law enforcement for America’s social problems has failed. Now more than ever, Americans must elect the one candidate for president who has a proven track record in enhancing public safety and investing in the essential men and women who help maintain public safety every day,” Kazanjian said.
“For the over 30,000 men and women in the Florida Police Benevolent Association, the choice for us could not be clearer. Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration have made Florida a law-and-order state, by investing in and supporting the thousands of law enforcement officers, who serve on the front lines in keeping our communities safe and secure.”
Kazanjian credited the DeSantis administration with allocating more than $100 million dollars in salary increases for law enforcement officers in the state, and another $20 million for law enforcement agencies to support their efforts in stopping the spread of fentanyl.
The Florida PBA president also credited DeSantis with increasing the penalties for major crimes and recruiting “the best men and women across the country” to join Florida’s law enforcement community.
The Florida PBA’s endorsement could bolster DeSantis as he competes for the Republican presidential nomination. DeSantis is currently the second favorite in most primary polls to win the 2024 GOP nomination, behind Trump, who is seeking a return to the White House.
Kazanjian had once called Trump “the one candidate for president who is committed to making our country safe and secure.” In an Aug. 3, 2020, statement published by the Tallahassee Democrat, Kazanjian said Trump “has never once wavered from his support of law enforcement officers” and his commitment to law and order “is our country’s last great hope to live in the kind of society where our communities thrive and our families prosper.”
Kazanjian said the 2020 presidential endorsement marked the first time in eight years that the Florida PBA had decided to place its support behind a presidential candidate. Kazanjian said calls to defund and even abolish police organizations throughout the summer of 2020 meant “we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.”
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