Representative Kris Kringle has a Very Good Plan to Make Some Christmas Wishes Come True for the Good Men & Women Working in Corrections in the State of Florida
— Sheriff’s Detention Deputy R. Williams
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA , USA, December 7, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Representative Kris Kringle is heading north to Tallahassee before beginning his annual world tour in order to seek equal and fair treatment for correctional officers (COs) and detention deputies (DDs) that serve as sworn law enforcement officers (LEOs) and essential first responders at both the state and county levels in Florida, and also in order to resolve a public dispute taking place in the Florida law enforcement community regarding whether or not COs and DDs are LEOs or essential first responders or not.
This conflict began because in 2020, “Old Man Winter” Jack Frost was all too successful in completely freezing out the good men and women of corrections and their families at both the state and county levels from the many benefits included in both HB 3: Law Enforcement (HB3) and HB 5007: State-administered Retirement Systems (HB 5007) for whatever cold hearted reason an infamously chilling spirit of winter only the likes of Jack Frost could possibly think of.
In an even colder move, manipulative Jack Frost was somehow able to temporarily freeze the hearts and brains of our leaders in congress that wrote the language in HB 5001 (2022) regarding the distribution of the second round of recognition payments for sworn LEOs and essential first responders. While our leaders in congress were suffering temporarily from brain freeze and frozen hearts, they drafted the legislation in HB 5001 in a flawed manner that caused the leadership of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) whose brains and hearts must have also been frozen by cunning Jack Frost to determine that sworn and certified (S & C) COs and DDs at the county level were not eligible to receive the second round of recognition payments announced in 2022 by Governor DeSantis (for sworn LEOs and essential first responders) despite having been eligible for the first recognition payment in 2021, and legally considered both sworn LEOs and essential first responders according to several legal precedents.
COs and DDs at both the state and county levels were most certainly considered essential during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. They left their families daily to work long and horrific hours in our state’s prisons and county jails as Covid-19 rampaged through both the inmate population and officer ranks, but now when it was time to receive a second recognition payment COs and DDs at the county level were no longer considered essential? COs and DDs at the county level were considered essential in 2020 and in 2021 when they received the first recognition payment, but in 2022 they are no longer essential? Did we miss something? Clearly, evil Jack Frost has been at work here, so securing a second recognition payment for county COs and DDs is the first reason Representative Kris Kringle and TTSLA are heading to Tallahassee.
HB 3 passed in July of 2022, and was celebrated on Governor DeSantis’ website as being “the Strongest Law Enforcement Recruitment and Support Initiative in the Nation” (DeSantis, 2022). The fact that COs and DDs were frozen out of this “landmark” law enforcement bill by infamous Jack Frost is the second reason Kris Kringle is heading to Tallahassee. COs and DDs have been calling for equal and fair treatment as the LEOs that serve in the state’s prisons and county jails for years and being frozen out of HB3 was the proverbial hair that broke the proverbial camel’s back. The call for equality in this case arose from the fact that COs and DDs across the state were not included anywhere in this new “landmark legislation” and therefore deemed ineligible for any and all of the benefits offered in the bill for LEOs and their families. There does not appear to be any good or logical reason why COs and DDs were frozen out from receiving the benefits offered to LEOs.
For example, one of the most noteworthy benefits makes an LEO in Florida eligible for a benefit of $25,000 for adopting a child who has special needs or $10,000 for adopting a child who does not have special needs. Clearly, making COs and DDs eligible for this benefit would first and foremost serve the needs of children waiting to be adopted so why not make COs and DDs eligible as well? May God bless these children waiting to be adopted with new families this year.
Other benefits in HB3 include the wellness training Resiliency Behind the Badge taught by Ms. Prykhodko with a background specifically in training correctional stakeholders to recognize trauma symptoms in themselves, loved ones, and coworkers, but HB3 fails to include COs or DDs as eligible recipients of this benefit? Scholarships for the children of LEOs, recruitment incentives, bonuses, and qualification waivers for veterans that the Corrections profession in Florida could most certainly benefit from especially considering the National Guard has recently been called on to support state prisons. It’s clearly a mistake to exclude COs and DDs and their families from the benefits offered by HB3 and during the 2023 legislative session our leaders need to fix the mistakes made by amending HB3 to include C & S COs and DDs at both the state and county levels.
HB 5007 passed in July of 2022 and this bill provides LEOs who are participants in DROP up to 36 calendar months beyond the 60-month period if he or she enters DROP on or before June 30, 2028. Once again, the need for equality in this case came from COs and DDs not being included in this legislation for LEOs as it only included LEOs in special risk class s. 121.0515(3)(a). Special risk class s. 121.0515(3)(c) needs to be added. Representative Kris Kringle is scheduled to retire this year and is most passionate about correctional officers being made eligible for this retirement benefit.
HB 3 and HB 5007 need to be amended to include COs and DDs and county COs and DDs need to be paid their second recognition payment.
May God Bless You, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Jeffrey A. Snipes
The Thin Silver Line Alliance
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Teacher Says, “Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets It’s Wings and a Correctional Officer Does A Security Round.” Attaboy Clarence!
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