December 19, 2012
By: Howard Giraldo, President – FOP, Lodge 133
Fraternal Order of Police – Miami-Dade Schools Police Department
Yesterday, we stood side by side with the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools to honor the memory of the little angels and staff members who were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. What was going through our minds was not what was going through the minds of those who attended the memorial service.
With us it’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when. Are we prepared to do what’s necessary? And that is, prepared to meet head on that aggression toward our students. Yes we are!
The men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police have trained and continue to train to prepare to confront situations like this, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hire and keep trained officers on board. We’re deadlocked in contract negotiations, our health insurance is sky rocketing and our salaries are nowhere near industry standards. While our teachers are the highest paid in the State of Florida (deservingly), we continue to be one of the lowest paid Police Departments in Miami-Dade County. The School Board continues to throw money out the door with every officer who leaves us for greener pastures.
35 officers have currently applied to Miami-Dade Police Department and more to other surrounding agencies; all that out of a department of 151 officers. Now, deduct 25 who are on afternoon and midnight patrol, 11 in the Detective Bureau and another 8 who make up the Administrative Division and Internal Affairs. This leaves us with 106 Officers, Sergeants and Lieutenants to provide police services for over 345.000 Students, 40.000+ employees at over 392 schools. And let’s not forget the bus compounds, regional centers, maintenance facilities and School Board Administration Buildings that we still have to provide police services. Out of the 106, 35+ are assigned to High Schools and cannot leave their schools (a mandate from the Superintendent), which leaves 71 uniformed officers to handle calls for services at the remaining 357 elementary and middle schools on a daily basis (provided no one is out on leave).
Some would say this is impossible to achieve, but our police officers do the impossible every single day of their careers. They are the best at what they do! They come to work every day prepared to sacrifice their lives to protect the children of this community. They are prepared to meet any threat to our children with violence of action. We the few, stand ready!
Fraternal Order of Police
Miami-Dade Schools Police Lodge 133
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