MIAMI BEACH - Gov. Jeb Bush praised law enforcement officials throughout the country Saturday and thanked them for their dedication during this year's hurricanes.
Bush spoke at the opening ceremonies of an annual international meeting of law enforcement professionals.
"Sometimes as a country we forget how hard officers work, but we were reminded of that recently with the hurricanes, especially in the gulf port states," Bush said at the 112th Annual Conference and Exposition of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
More than 14,000 law enforcement professionals were expected to attend the event, which ends Wednesday.
Last year, when Hurricane Charley hit Florida in August, about 700 first responders from all over the country came to Punta Gorda to assist. Last month, about 3,100 first responders from Florida were sent to Mississippi to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery, Bush said.
"It was payback time for the assistance we got during the hurricanes last year," Bush said.
The governor told the audience of about 200 that because police officers work so hard, they should be rewarded with better pensions and pay.
Those attending the event will take part in seminars, forums and workshops that will examine critical issues relevant to the law enforcement profession.
The association is the world's oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization of police executives, with more than 19,000 members in more than 100 countries.