Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Police Bloat

North Bay Village has a problem.  The police consume  2/3rds of our budget and for years now this part of the budget, the only part that makes a difference, has been a sacred cow.  You discuss it at your own peril.   

It should not be this way.  When a community dedicates the vast percentage of its resources to a single department, the community has the  right to know how the money is being spent.  We don't.  

The police budget tells us nothing.  We don't know how much a patrol costs, what does it cost to respond to a police call, what revenues are generated by tickets, fines and other penalties, how much stolen property is recovered, or even what the true crime rate is.  

We do know that at least $500,000 and much closer to $1 million dollars, about 30% of the police budget, have been dedicated to fighting a single case against an officer who was fired and then ordered to be reinstated.  This when the arbitrator found that the testimony of the NBV PD was so disjointed that no reasonable finding could be  made.   The PD is currently pursuing another, even weaker case against a different officer.   

We know that the police chief hired his wife for a no show job.  By the way, he's now claiming that Bob Pushkin, our former city manager, approved the hire but there's no paperwork to back that up.  

For years now, residents have asked for transparency in the police department only to be met by stonewalling and lies.   

This commission has a lot to deal with but the core, the finances and the community services, can't be addressed until the commission takes up the issue of the police department.  It has to or we are never going to move forward.  

Kevin Vericker
March 21, 2013     

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