Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who was scheduled to headline a fundraiser for New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin Sunday night, did not appear because he had to attend a memorial service for a police officer killed in the line of duty.
The service on Monday honored Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Jose Perez, who was struck by a vehicle driven by Ysmael Sandoval, 35, in Miami on August 2. Perez died on August 20. Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and Attorney General Ashley Moody also attended the service.
FDLE mourns the passing of FDLE Special Agent Jose Perez, who died in the line of duty after valiantly fighting for his life for 17 days after being hit by another driver. pic.twitter.com/qH5SWFnONo
— FDLE (@fdlepio) August 21, 2022
“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of Agent Perez, who spent his entire life serving others from the United States armed forces to more than 30 years in law enforcement,” FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass stated. “Our country, our state, our community and FDLE are better because of his dedication. Rest in peace our brave hero. You will never be forgotten.”
Zeldin said Perez was a member of DeSantis’ security team.
“Today we mourn the tragic loss of FDLE Special Agent Jose Perez, who died in the line of duty,” Florida first lady Casey DeSantis tweeted. “With over 20 years in the U.S. armed forces & more than 30 years in law enforcement, he lived a valiant life serving our nation & state. The entire @fdlepio community is in our prayers.”
Today we mourn the tragic loss of FDLE Special Agent Jose Perez, who died in the line of duty. With over 20 years in the U.S. armed forces & more than 30 years in law enforcement, he lived a valiant life serving our nation & state. The entire @fdlepio community is in our prayers. pic.twitter.com/uLabr70SJh
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) August 29, 2022
According to the arrest report, blood tests showed Sandoval’s blood alcohol level of .146; Florida’s legal limit is .08. Sandoval also tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.
A spokesperson for Zeldin said DeSantis would make another trip to join Zeldin at an event, The New York Post reported.
At the end of November 2021, DeSantis announced $1,000 bonuses for the state’s law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders, stating, “We will always support our law enforcement.”
DeSantis released a statement saying, “While other states have turned their backs on law enforcement, even calling to ‘defund the police,’ in Florida we continue to support the men and women in law enforcement. I am proud to propose larger and longer-lasting measures to help our state recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers in the nation and to provide $1,000 bonuses for first responders and law enforcement officers for the second year in a row,” he added.
DeSantis promised to raise the minimum salary for entry level sworn state law enforcement officers by 20%, for veteran officer salaries by 25%, an increase in base pay for Correctional Officers and Department of Juvenile Justice Officers, and a salary hike for Special Risk Firefighters.