St. Michaels Day Mass
Thank you to all who took the time to attend the 13th annual St. Michael’s Day Mass. A special thanks to Sunny Isles Police Chief, Fred Maas, for not only assisting with the mass, as he does each year, but for filling in for me, as this was the first time I missed the celebration, due to a prior engagement out of town. I was informed that it was well-attended and that numerous elected officials took the time to attend.
I would also like to thank South Miami Police Chief Rene Landa for his keynote remarks. Both he and Chief Maas were outstanding according to those in attendance. Additionally, Bay Harbor Islands Chief Shaun Hemmingway and Miami-Dade Correctional Deputy Director Daniel Junior assisted with the readings. To all who participated and who attended, the honor guard, choir and the entire parish, thank you. Our strength truly comes from our unity.
PBA’s Legal Muscle
A huge thank you goes out to our PBA legal staff. At times we take for granted their talent, years of
expertise, and hard work. Dealing with 28 plus municipalities and the County (police, corrections,
civilian support personnel and animal services) their workload is immense, but their success is bountiful. More importantly, their success is our success.
In years past, the County, in particular, tended to be the easiest to deal with, even though it is our largest unit. Since Carlos Gimenez took the helm, the County has become as adversarial as any difficult city we have dealt with. And, while Gimenez is amongst the worst administrators ever, and certainly the worst Miami-Dade Mayor in its history, our legal team has pressed on and never wavered in their resolve for each and every case.
While the PBA is rich with successful wins, we seldom tout our abundant victories. We just keep
pressing on, regardless if it's an eight person department or a three thousand person agency. It's who we have been and will always be. But it only happens with competent staff and a powerful legal unit.
So to that end, and on behalf of the entire PBA membership, I say thank you to the entire PBA staff and our kick butt attorney ensemble.
Some in the political circles say that maybe some of the elected officials in the City of Pinecrest are kept in the dark. That would be equating it to Santa Clause not knowing when it's Christmas time. They very well know the problems, but choose to stick their heads in the sand and will eventually point fingers away from themselves. The Mayor, the Manager and the Chief feed from the same trough, and spew the same BS to its citizens. And, even if there are those who choose to give, either the Manager, and/or the Mayor, a free pass and argue that they are unaware, then the answer is simple - they are
incompetent! You cannot be an involved bureaucrat, and/or elected official and be totally oblivious to the problems in your most essential department. You cannot tell us that you had no idea that crime, (especially burglaries) is on a sharp rise in your city, and still be convincing that you were in the dark with the Chiefs inability to run the police department effectively.
Speaking of burglaries, here's one for the books. The administration has been placing pressure on the troops to classify burglaries as vandalism. It's certainly not new to our profession. It's often done to protect high level jobs, elected or otherwise. To lie to the public is nothing new when it comes to shielding oneself from criticism. There’s only one problem, it's illegal. In other counties, even our neighboring Broward County, people are arrested for that behavior. Here in Dade County, a Chief merely has to point the finger at an underling and promise to open an internal investigation. Then the investigation takes forever and the attention on the issue fades, and ultimately nothing happens. On rare occasions, a small insignificant counseling, followed by a promotion, or salary increase, to those who take the blame for superiors. And, I predict that's what’s about to take place in Pinecrest.
While FDLE, along with our weak Miami-Dade criminal justice system, refuse to touch the hot potato, possibly because of friendships, political or otherwise, the fact remains it’s still a crime. The Miami Dolphins figured it out and fired the coach for a failing sports team; and that’s just sports. However, in real life-threatening situations, Mayor Cindy Lerner can't do the same. Why? Maybe because it's all part of having someone under her that will make excuses at all costs for political survival, even if it’s at the expense of citizen safety. It's not more complicated than that.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
We continue to settle contracts with the various municipalities we represent and we thank those elected officials who support law enforcement. Most recently, we have reached agreements in the cities of Bal Harbour and Doral.
Speaking of Doral, what a pure pleasure working with a real caring professional like Chief Donny Delucca. Chief Delucca is definitely among the VERY FEW administrators that cares more about his staff than his title or himself.
Body Cameras side note
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has been meeting, since September 2014, to address a
multitude of issues. PERF is a Washington, DC based think-tank made up of Police Executives. Use of force, mental illness, community relations and body cameras were some of the issues tackled.
I noticed a few comments that came out of that meeting which are as follows: Body cameras are not the panacea for the issues that communities face.
Simply passing out cameras out to officers without building community trust is shortsighted. Too bad South Florida agencies didn’t learn from their own colleagues.
Congratulations to our Key West PBA for another successful gala, headed up by PBA Representative Areaka Jewell and all of the volunteers. This was their thirteenth year and it gets better every year. We thank them all for their commitment and hard work. Great job to all.
Since Thanksgiving falls in November, it is only fitting that I say, once again, that I am thankful for law enforcement and our military. It is you, and not politicians, that keep us safe. I wish a happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all.