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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Getting more police officers on the streets

Neighbors are still facing unusually high crime in Coconut Grove and other parts of the city, including Brickell and Coral Way. Grove residents are hoping for new officers to patrol the neighborhoods and their hopes may come true.

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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That letter was too long. Let me summarize it in 8 words: "Pay us more, or we won't do anything."

The truth is that the police I do see around Miami, rarely if ever leave their cars. Take away the 50% cars - that will save taxpayer money. That money can pay for more cops on duty.

Also, the claims made by the city that they cannot attract applicants is not true, nor is the claim that the city has to pay for them to attend an academy - they can and do attend on their own dime, prior to applying.

September 25, 2013 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I walk early in the morning, usually before 6am. I spotted 3 police cars at the foot of McFarland by the water. I thought to myself, "Why are they not patrolling?" Then I saw one at Seminole Ramp, but then he left and joined the party with the other 3. 4 police vehicles that we pay for relaxing next to Peacock Park. That's 4 cars that could be patrolling the Grove. Guess they're in the business of getting to a crime scene after it happens instead of prevention.

September 26, 2013 6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People "standing their ground" would definitely make criminals think twice.

September 26, 2013 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fewer City of Miami LEOs in Coconut Grove the better. They are steroid-addicted bullies for the most part and look at their jobs with an "us vs. them" mentality where citizens are viewed as nothing more than pests.

September 26, 2013 10:42 AM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

City of Miami Police cars say "Professional Law Enforcement" on them in quotation marks. In the English language, quotations marks are used to indicate one of two things: either a direct quote, or irony.

I think the usage here is obvious, and it's hysterical that no one in the police department or in the city office who chose it, gets it. Multiple levels of irony.

September 26, 2013 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it's quite precise in its own perverse way. A professional is someone trained in a certain field to do a specific job by the person that hired them.
No police officer is required or expected to help you. Back in 2005 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect people. Their only job is to enforce the law. You can thank Scalia for that bit of brilliance.
The police are, as it plainly states on every one of their vehicles, nothing but enforcers (thugs) who do what their employers (City of Miami) tell them to. Nothing more nothing less.

If you need help call the Fire Dept. But you need someone shot in North Miami, if you need someone ticketed for a tail light being out, if Sarnoff needs the homeless rousted for the heinous crime of sleeping in the park, then you call Miami's "Finest"

September 26, 2013 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We don't have a shortage of police officers. We have roughly 144 police officers not assigned to patrol that can easily be re-assigned to deal with crime. Everyone in City knows this expect us! We are being lied to so we can give our consent for more spending.

This is a problem of management, not money!

September 26, 2013 4:50 PM  

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