MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dozens of cadets graduated Thursday morning from the Miami-Dade Police Academy—but a job serving the community may not last long due to budget cuts.
Miami native Mauricio Mejia, a Miami-Dade Police Department cadet, graduated Thursday along with 47 other cadets from the police academy.
He, along with his fellow graduates, would like to move on to serve their community.
“I grew up in Miami-Dade,” said Mejia. “I am a military veteran so I spent about ten years away but now I look forward to the opportunity to serve my community the way I served my country.”
But the job is an opportunity that may not come for Mejia and his cadet class. That’s because after the MDPD spent close to two and a half million dollars to train and certify its first sponsored cadet class in two years, budget cuts could force them to hand the new officers pink slips—less than two months after graduating from the academy.
“The best thing we can do is focus on the task at hand,” said Desiree Zayas, an MDPD cadet. “We are going to get out on the road soon but we need to focus and make sure our safety is the first thing we are concerned about.”
John Rivera, the President of the Police Benevolent Association, says the cadets are in limbo at the moment.
“Many of them gave up careers to come for this job and this promise and now the promise has been broken,” said Rivera.
Rivera said the safety of the community as a whole is at stake, not to mention the fact Miami-Dade taxpayers already footed the bill.
“Miami-Dade’s training is one of the best. It’s the longest and most grueling so other departments want them,” said Rivera. “They are top notch. We paid for top notch but now we are going to throw that money in the toilet and let somebody else have it.”
Camille Normil, a friend of one of the graduates, said Thursday that the fact these cadets may end up without jobs is “not right.”
“It’s not fair. They put so much hard work and effort into getting into their career to turn around and get a pink slip,” said Normil. “People have families, children, and bills. So I think they should’ve invested their time more in figuring out what they were going to do before they put anyone through this academy.”