Hundreds of police jobs at stake in new Miami-Dade budget propos - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Hundreds of police jobs at stake in new Miami-Dade budget proposal

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MIAMI (WSVN) -- Miami-Dade County could end up with hundreds of police officers losing their jobs in a budget proposal made by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Tuesday.

"This is it, start of a long-term budget strategy that will help us avoid yearly budget crises," said Gimenez during his announcement of the 2014-2015 budget proposal.

The budget cuts close to 650 county jobs to fill a $64 million hole in the general fund. Miami-Dade Police could see the largest cuts if certain concessions are not made by the local labor union. "If we get no concessions whatsoever, then you're looking at about 250 police officers," said Gimenez.

If police department cuts are made, officers from administrative posts would likely shift to the street and certain specialized units that deal with robberies and child abuse cases could see positions vanish. "One of the directions I told the director was that I wanted to have the same number of patrol officers in the street that we have today," said Gimenez.

The Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association fired back after the proposal, saying public safety is paramount and these proposed cuts will have a negative impact. John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, said, "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 yourself some firearms because you're going to have to protect yourselves. We won't be able to."

Gimenez said he wants the union to meet him halfway. "This is the amount of money that we have, and if I have to pay more for the employees at the end, we are probably going to have to have fewer employees, unless I continue these concessions and get a 15 percent reduction in our healthcare costs. Then we can maintain most of the employees," said Gimenez.

  • Other ways the mayor is looking to save money includes:
  • Potentially cutting 200 jobs in the library department
  • Reducing mowing and maintenance cycles in county places
  • Increasing response time to pothole, flooding, sign and signal repairs
  • Postponement of correctional and police officer training classes

As a hike for taxes the mayor said, "We will not increase the burden on our residents through higher taxes, and we will not govern from budget crises to budget crises."

If some of the departments in those concessions come to an agreement, they could see fewer cuts in the end.

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