As Hurricane Irma inches closer to South Florida, Miami Deputy Chief Luis Cabrera said Thursday his department is “operationally prepared to assist the residents, businesses and visitors within the city of Miami.”
“To ensure we have ample resources to address the community’s needs we have canceled all days off and vacations,” Cabrera said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
As of 6 a.m. Friday, the city's nearly 1,400 sworn officers will be on 12-hour shifts, split into three districts.
“I want the public to feel confident that the city of Miami police department has trained and prepared extensively for this severe weather event,” he said. “We stand ready to meet the community's needs before, during and after the storm.”
And while Cabrera said they are ready, he and other city leaders urged residents to be prepared and listen to evacuation orders.
“We're not looking to see if someone is legally here or not,” he said, addressing immigration concerns. “I have been told that some people are afraid of going to these evacuation centers because of possible raids in the future. I can tell you here in the police department the job of the Miami Police Department is public safety. So if you are in one of these evacuation zones, please evacuate.”
Commissioner Frank Suarez said with areas of the city under evacuation orders — including parts of Little Havana, Overtown, Coconut Grove and downtown — he is concerned that people are waiting until the last minute.
“Everything we are seeing does not give us any indication that it is going to do anything but come from the southeast, which is the most dangerous trajectory it can have for South Florida and the city of Miami and so we are urging you to take this seriously,” he said.
Cabrera said officers will be responding to calls as long as it’s safe.
“We are going to do our job without endangering our personnel,” he said. “We have to be effective and efficient as to how we go about it.”