Miami has more problems beyond the loss of NBA superstar LeBron James to Cleveland.
A budget shortfall may result in the reduction of police services in Miami-Dade County.
Mayor Carlos Giminez is seeking to cut $64 million from the overall $6.2 billion budget. He asserted that unless the public sector unions agree to significant concessions in headcount and benefits, he might have to lay off about 250 police officers. Even if that happens, the mayor claims that the number of patrol officers won’t change with the shift of cops sitting behind desks to street duty.
The looming potential budget cutbacks prompted John Rivera, the president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, to issue this warning to citizens:
“If the mayor’s not going to provide security, then my recommendation, as an experienced law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, is either buy yourself an attack dog, put bars on your windows and doors, and get yourselves some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves.”
The Miami-Dade police force is one of the largest in the nation and the largest in the southeastern U.S. with about 3,000 sworn officers. Whether budget cuts will actually have an impact on public safety or if this might be a rollout of municipal union scare-tactics remains to be seen.
If the mayor and the unions can’t reach common ground on saving money, however, “[s]everal specialized units including the Incident Management Team, Sport Unit, Tactical Narcotics Team, and one of the three Special Response Teams in the city would be disbanded. The department would be forced to shutter one of its nine stations, specifically the Midwest District Station, as well as closing the Corrections Department’s ‘Boot Camp’ rehabilitation program for young inmates,” Guns.com reports.
Back in January, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that more trained, law-abiding citizens should carry guns because the cops can’t be everywhere in the crime-ridden city.
Given what he called the “soft-on-crime court system,” Sheriff David Clarke also made headlines when he recommended last year that Milwaukee County citizens take a firearms training course so that they can be prepared to defend themselves against intruders rather than hiding under the bed and waiting for overworked cops to arrive.
[Image credit: Massimiliano Mariani]