Police Union Members Walk Out On Talks About Off-Duty Work
MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Fed up Miami Beach Police Union representatives walked out on newly appointed Police Chief Daniel Oates after failing to come to an agreement about the suspension of off-duty police jobs.
“They stated their position and they left. That’s perfectly their right and I understand their position, ” said Oates.
“Our position is, it is a mandatory right,” said Fraternal Order Of Police Vice President Steve Feldman.
The meeting ended abruptly after the unions attorney said Chief Oates was not willing to negotiate.
“You either want to work with us or you don’t and it sound like you don’t,” said Fraternal Order Of Police attorney Eugene Gibbons during the meeting.
Oates got some serious backlash for his decision to cut cops ability to work off-duty security details at 14 nightclubs on the beach.
“The chief has stated he’s taking a unilateral action ceasing the off-duty… that’s bad faith bargaining in it’s very essence,” said Gibbons.
The major policy change came earlier this month in response to allegations that Sgt. Mike Muley got drunk while working an off-duty job, in uniform, at Mango’s Cafe. The long time police veteran was relieved of duty and the incident remains under investigation.
The union argued these off-duty jobs are a valuable income stream for officers and that their presence in the clubs is critical for public safety.
“That’s unacceptable to us. He’s going to put the citizens of this city and tourists, who come here to enjoy themselves, in jeopardy,” said Gibbs. “The residents should be up in arms over this. Those off duty police officers make a huge difference in protecting the public. “
The chief reiterated that the policy change is not permanent and that he is open to suggestions, but wants to add safeguards including supervisors and rotating shifts to avoid temptation.
“I’m not opposed to renewing off-duty work provided there are safeguards to prevent the kind of temptation and lapse of judgment that’s occurred,” said Oates.
Oates said he will be out of town next week for prior commitments and it is unlikely the Department will come up with an alternative solution before the August 1st deadline.
“I think what you saw today is the typical dialogue that can occur between management and labor association when we’re working out issues and it’s part of the process and eventually this will all be worked out,” said Oates.
Gibbons said the union plans to file an unfair labor practice complaint as soon as the policy change goes into effect on August 1st.