Miami commissioners reach deal on police budget
COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) -- City of Miami commissioners have finalized the city's 2014 budget, reaching a compromise that will both allow them to hire more police officers and dole out raises to current officers.
In a unanimous vote that came in at 10 p.m. Thursday, commissioners decided to add more officers to city streets.
The mayor's $524 million spending plan will include the addition of 95 new police officer on the force, a combination of new hires filling vacant spots and putting desk officers on patrol. The officers would start the new plan by April 2014.
Miami Police Department Chief Manuel Orosa said he is ready to take on the new hires. "We are patrolling the streets with the same amount of officers we had back in the 1990s," said Orosa. "The City of Miami has grown tremendously in population, and we need to grow the police department as well."
On top of putting more officers on the road to eliminate under-staffing, the commission is also looking out for under-served officers. Miami officers are among the most under-paid police officers compared to other Miami-Dade police departments.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said that was not all they agreed on. "And also allocate $2 million, so we can start the talks with the union to boost morale in the department. I am very, very happy with this budget."
Acting City Manger Daniel Alfonzo and Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Javier Ortiz said they are looking for ways to restore benefits lost over the last five years. "In negotiations, I'll be presenting some things in order to hopefully put a deal together in order to restore our benefits, retain the officers we have here and become a much more enticing police department," said Ortiz.
Commissioners have started the negotiations on how to distribute the $2 million on Friday. The new budget goes into effect on Oct. 1.
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