Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam issued the following statement today thanking the legislature for funding much-needed pay raises for first responders:
“I thank the legislature for standing with our first responders and funding pay raises for our department’s law enforcement officers and wildland firefighters, who are demonstrably underpaid compared to other state and local agencies. These raises will help us recruit and retain the best of the best to keep Floridians and visitors safe when lives and property are on the line.”
Starting pay for the department’s law enforcement officers is $31,880 and the starting pay for Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters is $26,580, substantially less than their counterparts in other state and local agencies resulting in high turnover in these critically important positions. The budget item, pending approval from the Governor, would provide a several thousand dollar increase for each of these positions to bring their pay in line with other competing employers and improve retention.