attack-on-mdspd-officersBy FOP 133 President Al Palacio

It seems that there are members of the administrative ranks of this School District that are currently on the attack on the way that senior police officers feed their families. Threats and conjecture have reared their ugly heads. Unfortunately, these are not only threats, but rather planning is currently underway to attack one of the only ways we can feed our loved ones; our officers working Adult Education sites.

This is not only an issue that affects our senior officers, but rather the entire membership as there is also an attack on the officers that work District football games. This last information came to us during the November 2017 General Membership meeting, where we heard from members that the athletic directors of this District met and were actively discussing how to reduce the cost of security at these games by hiring less officers and not hiring supervisors at these events.

I can tell you that this Union will not standby and have our extra duty details compromised or eroded in any way shape or form. Is not enough for this District that we are grossly underpaid in comparison to our counterparts throughout Miami Dade County? Is it not enough for this District that the only way an officer here can supplement his/her finances is by being away from his/her family for hours on end?

I don’t think anyone in this Department wakes up in the morning, stretches, yawns, and says, “Man I can’t wait to be out of the house today for 18 hours” then comes back and says, “I can’t wait to do that all over again in the morning.” Rather, I can tell you a story of where we wake up in the morning to say, “It feels like I just went to sleep, and ouch my back is killing me from wearing this belt for 18 hours and wow are my feet on fire! Let me see my kids before they go to school, oops too late they’re gone, got to jump in the shower for another ungodly long day.” Yet, we do it because instead of choosing to go to some other department and be compensated accordingly, we choose to stay here because we believe in our noble cause.

Well, I have a novel idea. Compensate us accordingly, so that the senior officers or any officers do not have to deplete your budgets. I challenge this School District to show their support for the men and women that protect our children by compensating us in a manner deserving of what we do.
Again, we are not complaining, we just want to be left alone to do the great work we do AND if some idea comes to fruition regarding my brothers and sisters, let it be good one. For example; let’s make a proclamation to honor the fact that even through a hurricane, we recovered a firearm inside of a hurricane shelter or the fact that two of our brothers assisted in a child birth, during severe weather, and transported the mother in mid labor to the hospital because Fire Rescue would not respond during the storm, placing their own lives in peril. Those are just a couple of examples of what should be coming out of the mouths of every person in a position in this District to effect change. Attitudes are infectious, so I challenge everyone with their hands in this attack against us to have an attitude of gratitude, endearment, understanding, empathy and loyalty for what we do.

I know there are members of this School Board that have always championed our cause and still today remain loyal to us. I would like to personally thank Dr. Larry Feldman, Ms. Maritere Rojas, Ms. Lubby Navarro, and Mrs. Perla Tabares-Hantman for reaching out and showing their everlasting support. I can only hope that the rest of the School Board sees what we do, how we do it, how deserving we are of every benefit this District provides, how deserving we are to be compensated in manner respectful of our profession and finally, how grateful the men and women of this Department are to be afforded those benefits. Come together as one to place an end, once and for all, to any attack, or notion thereof, that would adversely affect our members and the way they feed their families.

It is unfathomable to me, currently where random acts of terrorism are so prevalent and even this week where an active shooter killed four people and injured one more in a California school, that we would be having this conversation.

In a world, which is “topsy turvy” we seem to be the sheepdogs that protect the herd, yet we are subject to constant speculation from those would rather look after nickels and dimes.
Truly, that is what we are talking about in an almost 5 billion a year budget…Nickels and Dimes. That is the cost to protect our Adult Education sites and District football games in a year…Nickels and Dimes. Yet, THEY would rather save money by removing experienced officers that have served this District with distinction and replace them to save a few bucks. This notion is enigmatic!

Again, I challenge the Superintendent, as well as, the members of this School Board to continue to champion our cause and the importance of having workforce that can operate free of negativity, conjecture, and uncertainty created by a select few within the top ranks of the Miami Dade County School Board that would rather be parsimonious about the safety of our students and staff.