South Miami

As officers switch from PBA to FOP, South Miami police looks for reaccreditation

An accreditation team is asking for public comments about the South Miami Police Department.

A team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation arrives Dec. 13 to examine all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services.

The police department received full accreditation for the first time in 2014. It must comply with about 260 standards to be reaccredited.

“It professionalizes an organization by having certain policies and procedures in place showing that you are governed by certain rules,” Police Chief Rene Landa said. “Every three years you have to come up for it again and get reaccredited. Really what it does is it says that your department walks the walk and talks the talk. You have policies and procedures in place and you follow those policies and procedures.”

Of 380 Florida police agencies, 155 are certified, according to Landa.

“The city finally had the leadership in place to make the changes necessary to actually become accredited [in 2014],” City Manager Steven Alexander said. “[We have] the administration and leadership and training and really focus on issues that are critical in the city.”

While South Miami’s major crimes are trending for its lowest rate since 1991, salary negotiations with “lower unit” officers have been anything but smooth.

The department’s “upper unit,” consisting of lieutenants and captains, accepted the city’s offer and received a 6.2 percent pay raise on Oct. 1. The lower unit, consisting of officers and sergeants, rejected the salary increase. Those officers have since voted out the Police Benevolent Association as its union representation, in favor of the Fraternal Order of Police.

South Miami Police Department currently has 48 officers, but can employ 52.

The department’s lower unit and FOP will have a preliminary meeting with city officials later this month.

Public comments

If you are interested in offering written comments about the department’s ability to meet the standards of accreditation, write to CFA, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, FL 32302, or email info@flaccreditation.org.

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