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Miami police break promise to reform struggling out-of-service police system – NBC 6 South Florida


Miami Police know their after-hours employment program is prone to abuse.

Audits have found that he cannot keep track of all hours worked or money paid, and this endangers public safety as tired officers work more hours per day than is allowed.

But, despite the city’s repeated warnings and promises to fix the problems, the city has once again reneged on its promise to reform an operation that funneled around $ 1.5 million per month to agents working alongside. special events and private security. .

Since 2016, the city’s auditor general has twice revealed just how flawed and irresponsible the so-called “extra jobs program” is, and each time the city has committed to making corrections, so as not to not do it later.

A January 2020 report from the city’s auditor general found that police had done nothing to address four key findings from their 2016 audit.

In response, the city said the police “will engage the services of a third-party administrator to handle the planning, collection and payment of the additional work” and that the new system will be fully implemented by October 2020.

But resistance within the police department – including the Special Events Unit which oversees off-duty hours and pays officers at least $ 50.50 an hour – derailed that effort this month.

A source involved in the procurement described as “absurd” some of the arguments opponents within the police department used to maintain their power over the lucrative and fragmented system.

A request for proposals drew three valid bidders, and in June 2021, a city’s public procurement review board recommended the highest-ranked and cheapest proponent, RollKall Technologies.

But, after an August meeting to negotiate the contract led to a revised proposal, forces within the police department came together and “determined that the cost-benefit ratio of the highest ranked proponent, which also provided the lowest price offered, is not in the best interest of the city, ”according to a note from the purchasing department to the city manager obtained by NBC investigators 6.

A public archive request for a copy of any “cost-benefit” analysis or any other document revealing why police found it “not in the best interest of the city” has so far not been met .

On November 11, city manager Art Noriega approved the purchasing department’s recommendation to reject all responses.

Former chief Jorge Colina, who headed the department when he pledged in 2020 to hire an outside manager, told NBC 6 the move was “disappointing” and represented “a wasted opportunity” to fix a plagued system has problems.

Among them: The Special Events Unit and the city do not take into account the amount of income agents have to report on their taxes when paid – sometimes in cash – by businesses.

In most cases, the ministry does not have any documentation indicating exactly how much money or other benefits agents receive from private employers.

Officers were also found to work more hours per day than the maximum of 16 hours allowed for on-duty and off-duty employment.

The auditors also found that officers were paid by the city for on-call work for the same hours they were paid for after-hours jobs, which the independent civilian investigation committee found may constitute criminal conduct, especially theft or official misconduct.

“It was blatant use of misconduct, clearly depriving taxpayers of the services they pay for,” said Rodney Jacobs, deputy director of CIP.

As of September 2020, agents are paid $ 50.50 per hour when performing additional duties, with employers paying an additional $ 4.50 per hour directly to the city as an administrative fee. (Sergeants and other senior officers are better paid.)

Administrative costs help fund the police budget, raising around $ 1.6 million per year from 2015 to 2018. The 2020 audit found that more than $ 103,000 in fees were overdue and there is a risk that the city will not charge more than it should because its budget unit does. not getting a list of all the hours and jobs performed by the agents.

During its negotiations with RollKall in August, the city estimated that the company would earn gross income of nearly $ 2.4 million per year, based on the 8.29% rate it proposed to charge to companies that use additional service agents. The city suggested RollKall lower the rate, especially for some jobs – like Ultra Music Festival or Calle Ocho – where the special events unit would still be needed to plan and coordinate.

The company has agreed to lower tariffs, according to notes from the September bargaining meeting.

Two months later, the project was dead.

But the city has yet to provide a brief as to why – in particular, the cost-benefit analysis that the police department used to persuade purchases and the city manager to once again abandon reforms that would have solved the problems of the rest program.

In a statement to NBC 6, RollKall chairman Steven Power said he “respects the decision of the City of Miami to re-evaluate its requirements” and “would welcome the opportunity to partner with the city in the process. ‘to come up “.

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