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Miami Police Department Facing Officer Shortage

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police will hold a news conference Monday regarding a police officer shortage at the City of Miami police Department.

Earlier this week, CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald reported the department is short 84 officers and the gap is getting worse as 250 officers prepare to retire in the next five years.

Chief Manuel Oroso blames outdated hiring practices and administrative process for the lack of new officers.

In the last three years, the department of 1,070 officers has hired just 16 new cops, records show.

Recruiting new officers is a slow and tedious process, bogged down in part because applicants who haven’t worked for other departments must pass two exams: a state-mandated abilities test and a civil service exam. The Herald reports most South Florida departments only require the state test.

If candidates pass the tests, they have to take physical agility and psychological exams and there’s a background check which can take three to four months.

Usually, only one in 10 applicants get job offers but by that time, many have accepted positions elsewhere.

Rookie officers then must go through a six-month police academy.

Starting salary in Miami is $45,929.

Chief Oroso said the department has the budget to hire the officers it needs but the issues are with the delays. However, the department is getting ready to hire 20 certified officers from a hiring list created last year, Oroso told the Herald. Administrators also plan to launch a recruitment drive in coming months.

The chief is also proposing ways to speed up the hiring process. He wants to eliminate the city civil service exam and add another two background investigators to help screen candidates. He also wants to see human resources create multiple hiring lists at the same time. Historically, HR has waited until one list is exhausted to begin building another.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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