NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBS4)- The North Miami Beach Police Department is proposing big cuts, and on Saturday members of the department informed residents and businesses of the impending layoffs and reduction in service that could be imposed by the city manager.
The North Miami Beach Police Officer’s Association (NMBPOA) Local 6005, which represents officers, detectives, sergeants and dispatchers in the department went door-to-door as part of their information campaign.
The group said they visited those in the neighborhood to “inform the citizens and businesses of North Miami Beach of the impending layoffs and reduction in service from the police department” that city manager, Lyndon Bonner, is attempting to impose.
“When you start messing with public safety, you’re actually messing with people’s right to feel secure,” police union vice president Joe Romero said.
According to the association, Bonner has proposed laying-off 24 police officers and 13 civilian employees within the police department.
And that’s a major concern for neighbor Luis Cardone.
“They cannot let that happen,” he said. “You know, there’s a lot of people getting robbed and stuff. It’s not a good thing if they lay off people.
Romero said, “We just want to make sure that the general public is aware of the situation,” he said. “They’re going to ruin these people’s lives because they’re having a problem financially.
But Bonner said he “does not foresee public safety will be impacted from these lay offs. North Miami Beach has a full service police department, with the exception of a bomb squad and aviation unit. The primary concern, brought up in the town hall meetings, is to have more patrol units. This can still be done by decreasing some of the services provided by the police department.”
That’s not good enough for Cardone.
“If they do they’re not going to have anymore people looking out for us,” he said. “That’s what we’re paying taxes (for) so we can have our security around.”
On Monday, Former North Miami Beach Police Chief Rafael Hernandez faced a tough decision: lay off the officers and civilians to fix the city’s budget problems or face the consequences.
Hernandez chose the latter, which is why he is now the former chief of police in North Miami Beach.
The chief was given a mandate to cut $4 million from the budget, said police union president Mike Pons. The chief knew he couldn’t cut that amount of money without cutting personnel and he wasn’t willing to do it.
Bonner told city council members Tuesday at a budget workshop that the cuts would leave the department with fewer detectives, fewer road patrol officers and fewer crime scene technicians. However, Bonner said the cuts are necessary.
“I don’t like it,” Bonner said. “Unfortunately, this is where we’re at so we have to balance those services that deal with public safety the most effectively for the money I’ve got left.”