Tuesday, while attending the graduation ceremony downtown next to police headquarters, Alfonso said he has identified $2.44 million from various departments that could be redirected to hire 10 new officers without hurting services or personnel.
The money would come from several different sources, including $500,000 budgeted for a citywide runoff in November for the mayors seat; $500,000 from a risk-management insurance pool for accidents like slips and falls, and $470,000 from money the city was paid by Ultra Music Festival organizers and the television show Burn Notice that was sitting in a rainy-day fund.
Alfonso said hes identified another $6.5 million the city could spend on policing, but warned hes not recommending it because it would involve service cuts and the loss of personnel.
Were putting it out there as an option, he said.
City administrators who pushed for the compensation cuts the past four years are also being blamed for the lack of hires in the department, which is still 40 officers short of the 1,144 Miami budgeted for this year.
To gain some public support, city leaders made a big deal out of Tuesdays graduating class of 10, a normal occurrence that takes place about once every four months.
Yet what was meant to have the pomp and circumstance of a college graduation turned out instead to be a quiet, media-staged event
In an unusual move amid the budget standoff, Police Chief Manuel Orosa sent out blast emails and contacted the media, inviting the public to see the citys newest graduating class. The event with Orosa, Regalado, Alfonso and Commissioner Gort looking on took place in a cavernous, theater-like auditorium that seats about 300.
The five civilians in attendance were far outnumbered by media.
As city brass spoke, Miamis 10 newest officers sat on one end of the stage and 25 newly accepted applicants about to begin training sat on the other.
Regardless of what youve heard through the media, there are many who want to be cops, Regalado told the sparse crowd.
Ortiz thinks otherwise, noting that four officers left unexpectedly in the past moth.
Today, under incredible pressure from the mayor, Chief Orosa had a press conference with new Miami police recruits as a backdrop attempting to portray that hiring isnt an issue for the city of Miami, said Ortiz. After the press conference, a number of them told me that they have applied to Miami Beach and other police departments in order to make better pay and benefits. Can you blame them?