Budget proposal would put children at risk

07/12/2014 7:00 PM

07/11/2014 8:45 PM

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposal to eliminate police officers in crucial departments that specialize in child protection is irresponsible and illogical. Some of the units that would be abolished or reduced include:

• The Special Victims Bureau
• The Vulnerable Victims unit/Child Exploitation
• Domestic Crimes unit
• Sexual Crimes against Children unit

These units contain specialized investigators who conduct investigations of crimes against children involving cases of child exploitation, child abuse, child sexual assaults, online sexual predators and child abductions, to name a few.

The staffing reduction in the Special Victims Bureau, which also assists Florida’s Department of Children & Families in child-abuse cases, will result in delays in conducting follow-up investigations and in providing crucial assistance to child victims of violence and abuse.

The major cause for concern is the fact that children cannot defend themselves from heinous crimes such as neglect and abuse. They cannot and should not carry firearms and weapons in order to protect themselves. Our police officers are the ones who will respond, and help protect children against these crimes.

By reducing the number of police officers, children will be more vulnerable because they will be unprotected targets.

As a mother and a child advocate who fought long and hard to pass the The Jennifer Act, the first law in the United States to protect children from these crimes, it is sad to see Mayor Gimenez make a decision that will severely affect those who do not have a voice of their own.

With the assistance of caring legislators, and law enforcement officers, The Jennifer Act was sponsored and signed into law to allow officers to arrest a potential pedophile before it was too late.

The mayor’s cut is going against those who have fought to make this state a safer and better place to live in. I am disheartened by the misguided decisions of the mayor and other political leaders that could adversely and irreparably affect the safety and protection of our children.

Together, we strive for better legislation in order to better the world for children. We should not take away their right to be safe in their homes, the streets and in their schools.

Marilyn Adamo, Miami

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