Getting more police officers on the streets
In total, it's hoped that the City will hire 100 new officers at a cost of $10 million. But it appears as if 10 new officers will be hired according to Miami Chief Financial Officer and acting City Manager Daniel Alfonso at a cost of $2.4 million. It will take about four months for these officers to hit the streets after training.
One North Grove neighbor expressed concern to me that it has not been violent yet, but it will only be a matter of time before someone takes the matter into their own hands, you know, "standing their ground," saying that they were protecting themselves and their possessions.
The City Commission meets Thursday, September 26, at 5:05 pm at City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive) for the City's Final Budget Hearing.
The following letter was sent by Sergeant Javier Ortiz, President of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.
He talks about the two police officers promised to Coconut Grove, but says in reality, that is 12 officers. Commander Morales now says the Grove will receive three officers. Does that entail 18 in reality?:
"Proper staffing for two extra police officers requires twelve officers assigned to cover each shift and days off," says Sgt. Ortiz in the letter.
Here is his letter:
Dear Stakeholders in the Coral Way/Brickell/Coconut Grove areas:
As the union representative of the Miami Police Department, they have asked for me to advise all of you the truth of why there are crime problems in your area as well as the rest of our city.
For the past four years, our police officers have gotten significant cuts to their benefits. The Miami Police Department is not close to being competitive with neighboring departments. We have over three hundred police officers in the DROP (differed retirement option program) that may retire at anytime. We have over 40 vacant positions for police officers and are budgeting another 25 for next fiscal year. In the past four weeks, we have had one new police officer and three sworn members in the DROP resign unexpectedly. Depending on what decisions our elected officials make this Thursday on the police budget in restoring some benefits, more police officers are expected to resign in the near future. Today, under incredible pressure by the Mayor, Chief Orosa had a press conference with new Miami police recruits as a back drop attempting to portray that hiring isn't an issue for the City of Miami. After the press conference, a number of them told me that they have applied to Miami Beach and other police departments in order to make better pay and benefits. Can you blame them?
The Roads area has three police officers on overtime due to the mounting crime problems and police shortages (exclusively directed to place little flyers called Watch Over Miami Cards) on the following schedule:
8AM-1PM (weekdays) A minimum of 25 Watch Over Miami Cards
8AM-5PM (weekends) A minimum of 50 Watch Over Miami Cards
The purpose of these cards is so the Miami Police command staff can give a false sense of security that the police are actively patrolling your area. There is so much pressure from our elected officials, that even unarmed public service aides are placing these cards on resident's houses to further bolster the perception of police. This overtime detail is only addressing the Roads section. Will a piece of paper stop crime in your area? If anything, it advises criminals that you aren't home.
This same practice is going on within Coconut Grove. Tired cops are putting out these flyers. A total of two police officers have been promised to the Coconut Grove area. What isn't being addressed is that to really add two extra police officers to an area, you need to have a proper staffing plan of 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Proper staffing for two extra police officers requires twelve officers assigned to cover each shift and days off. Crime doesn't take "time off" and neither should your police department. Chief Orosa is trying to address a mounting crime problem with what he has which are overworked police officers and no new cops to staff it anytime soon. They will tell you that a police academy class of 25 was just started. What they don't tell you is that they aren't available for the street until about a year from now due to training. The seven cops that were recently sworn in won't be able to patrol the streets on there own without supervision for at least another six months.
Hundreds of flyers are being given out by overworked police officers isn't going to solve your crime problem. Retaining your current police force by restoring their benefits and being competitive to hire the best is the solution. This Thursday, police officers as well as concerned neighbors from all over the City of Miami will unite at City Hall to demand better police service. We invite all of you to join this very important movement to protect our community.
Overtime details are like band-aids. We need to stop the bleeding with a proper budget that can be achieved without raising taxes. It's all about what are the priorities of our city. Make your safety a priority. Come out this Thursday at 5 PM at City Hall and make a difference.
Sergeant Javier Ortiz,
President Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #20
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