In order to avoid “yearly budget crises,” Miami-Dade County (Florida) may have to fire hundreds of police officers as part of a long-term budget strategy announced earlier this week. The proposal has been met with some criticism, with one police association spokesman telling citizens to “get yourself some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves.”
The budget proposal, announced by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday, would cut nearly 650 county jobs in an attempt to close a $64 million deficit in the city’s general fund. The Miami-Dada Police Department could reportedly see the deepest cuts.
John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, argued the drastic cuts to the police department would negatively impact public safety, according to WSVN-TV.
"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,” he said. “We won't be able to."
As WSVN-TV reports, police units that specialize in robberies and child abuse cases could “see positions vanish.”
Mayor Gimenez said he wants the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, which acts like a union for the police department, to agree to other cuts, possibly a 15 percent reduction in healthcare costs and maybe the county wouldn’t have to let so many employees go.
"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,” the mayor said.
The news station outlines other ways the city is looking to save money:
• 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
However, Gimenez said he is not interested in increasing the “burden on our residents through higher taxes” to address budget issues, despite pressure from unions urging him to do exactly that.