HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – Meredith Tisch was visibly upset when the City of Hollywood gave her and 12 other rookie officers pink slips last June. Budget cuts were to blame.
“It’s not fair! Because all we do is wake up every day and put a vest on and a gun on my hip and protect the city,” Tisch told CBS4′s Natalia Zea.
To save those 13 jobs, all Hollywood officers took a 12-percent paycut.
But now, six months later Tisch is off the force anyway. She resigned for a better paying job as a Fort Lauderdale officer.
“People are contemplating leaving, and they want to leave here because there is no future,” Broward County PBA Vice President Jeff Marano told Zea. Marano says several officers have left, and many others are getting ready to quit.
“To have 4 people leave that are young is unheard of, and this is just the early stages….the less people that are on the street, the more dangerous it is for the community,” said Marano.
“I think the fears of the Union are really unfounded at this point,” responded Hollywood City Spokesperson Raelin Storey. Storey points out that in all, the department has more than 300 officers. She says they’ve already hired 10 new cops, and have a long waiting list of candidates.
“We have a very professional police department. Our staffing levels are not that much different than they’ve been over the past five years,” said Storey.
The cost to train each of the officers is a concern. It can cost as much as $60,000 per officer. That’s money the Union argues the city can’t afford to lose. Only time will tell how many new and bright officers Hollywood will lose to its better paying competitors, and the impact that could have on the thousands of people who rely on them.