Miami Beach Cops At Schools Starting April 2

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Cops At Schools Starting April 2:

To be funded with overtime money

After City Commissioners voted to put Miami Beach Police Officers in every public school within the City, they asked Police Chief Dan Oates to report back on costs. As he did at the Finance Committee meeting, Oates said the cost would be $182,000 in overtime pay to put cops in the six schools on the Beach for the final 48 days of the school year beginning April 2 when students return from spring break.
Still pending is an MOU with the County Schools system on how officers will operate within the schools. In the meantime, they will be placed outside, ready to respond in any emergency.
Mayor Dan Gelber said placing officers in schools (rather than the Miami-Dade County School Police officers) is something that every City is working on. While there may be State funding available, the details of that funding have not yet been determined, Gelber said.
Regarding operating procedures, he said, “The County is still trying to figure out how to do it.” In April, he noted, ten mayors, city managers, and police chiefs will get together on Miami Beach to discuss implementation.
“Notwithstanding, we’re not going to wait until a lot of other things happen,” Gelber said. “It is our residents’ and our strong belief that we ought to provide that additional protection.”
Gelber said the City’s desire for the officers in schools is to have them "integrated in a way that is positive and effective".
Until an operating agreement is reached, Oates said by being posted outside, “Certainly they would be right there, right outside at a minimum.” Then he added, as to procedures, “We have a special relationship with all of our principals, so I expect that we’ll figure that out informally until it’s formally figured out.”
Gelber said Miami Beach is out in front on the issues. “We’re pushing it a little faster because we were on this within days … I don’t expect obstacles, it’s just in the details.”
“We’re going to get clarity on it but I think the will of the Commission is we are ready to go the moment we can.”
Oates said for the long-term, additional hiring can be done, but that takes about a year with recruitment and training.
Gelber concluded, “We are fortunate that our department is big enough that we could do something rather quickly and handle all the schools in our city.”

Photo: Shutterstock

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