Florida Public Employees
March 15, 2014
By: Elaine De Valle, “Ladra” – Political Cortadito
Aside from Miami-Dade County’s lay off of 21 employees in the last couple of months to help deal with what Mayor Carlos “Not So Golden Boy” Gimenez says is a bulging budget shortfall, the incoming cops of new police officers has been cut in half from four academy classes to two.
But Gimenez assured commissioners in the memo about budget cuts and layoffs he sent Thursday that the smaller number of recruits would “have minimal impact on our police coverage.” He said the department is in the middle of a restructuring process that will take officers from specialized investigative units and put them on the street.
That sounds good.
What he didn’t say is that these units include the narcotics unit and the economic crimes unit, which are now less able to follow up on those cases. What he didn’t say is that the county police department is already short between 250 to 800 officers, depending on who you ask and what levels you go by. What he didn’t say is that the gaping hole in the force could become a crater in the next two years as between 250 and 350 more officers retire. What he didn’t say is that there is already a growing backlog of cases and not enough cops to work them.
“Let’s take homicide, for example. We have thousands of leads on open murder cases and they can’t follow up because they don’t have enough detectives,” Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera told Ladra, adding that the Tactical Narcotics Team and the Robbery Intervention Detail — two pro-active units that target repeat, violent criminals — had also been decimated.
“And when we do away with the economic crimes unit, we are not going to be able to follow Medicaid fraud and credit card fraud and identity theft and those crimes will go up because people who do identity theft will know they can come to Miami-Dade and go to town,” Rivera said.
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