Monday, February 17, 2014

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier is now reporting stale news

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier reported some week-old news on his station's 6 o'clock show tonight.

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Weinsier was following up on a story he reported late last month after he obtained photos that allegedly showed some Miami Beach police dispatchers and 911 call takers "sleeping" on the job.

Weinsier's story tonight, viewers were told, was "an update you'll only see on Local 10."

But the story was as stale as the bread in some of the restaurants that Weinsier visits in his role as Local 10's fearless and resolute Chief Rat Shit Investigator.

Click image to enlarge.
In tonight's piece, Weinsier basically rehashes his original, thinly-reported story, adding only that Al Bello, the head of the police union representing Miami Beach cops has sent an email to Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. In the email, Bello objects to Morales' decision to replace the sworn police officer who had been running the Public Safety Communications Unit (PSCU), with a civilian employee from city hall.

What Weinsier neglects to mention is that Bello - who he never names in his report - sent the email to the city manager exactly one week ago. The email was then posted on a forum for Miami Beach police officers 15 minutes after it was sent to Morales.

That's your big "Only on Local 10" scoop, Jeff? Week-old news?

In his email, Bello labels Morales' appointment of Chuck Tear, a civilian city hall employee with "minimal law enforcement experience," as "injudicious."

But that's something I brought up in my post on February 8, when I reported that sources were telling me "that it's Morales who is now putting lives in danger with his appointment of Tear to a position that demands someone with an extensive background in law enforcement."

Additionally, one source familiar with Palm Beach County government tells me that Chuck Tear "definitely had nothing to do with [Palm Beach's] 911 system. At most, he had a call center of a few people underneath him called the County Warning Point that mostly handled calls for traffic lights out, etc. and definitely nothing related to emergencies unless a significant incident requiring county-wide coordination like a hurricane was occurring."

Another well-placed source tells me that in light of the publicity that Tear is now receiving, some are taking a closer look at his resume; something Jimmy Morales apparently never bothered to do when he hired Tear last year.

Here's the email Bello sent to Morales seven days ago that Weinsier reported as "news" tonight.

From: Bello, Alejandro
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 7:56 PM
To: Morales, Jimmy
Cc: Levine, Philip; Wolfson, Jonah; Weithorn, Deede; Malakoff, Joy; Steinberg, Micky; Tobin, Ed; Grieco, Michael; Police Intel
Subject: Open letter to the City Manager regarding PSCU changes
Dear City Manager Morales: 
On behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8, I write this letter to express our strong opposition to the City’s recent move of reassigning the management and supervision of the Public Safety Communications Unit (PSCU) from the purview of the Chief of Police and his staff to a non-sworn civilian coordinator.  We are gravely concerned by the motivation and possible repercussions of your decision and how it will impact public safety for our residents, business, visitors and the men and women of the Miami Beach Police Department.  
As you and your management team have known, issues of understaffing and supervision have been impressed upon by police administrators for quite some time.  So much so, that one of the enhancements requested by our department for Fiscal Year ‘14 was the addition of seven (7) dispatchers to alleviate the consistent practice of forced holdovers and mandatory overtime shifts.  Additionally despite our objections, a sworn Captain position in PSCU was reclassified to a civilian “PSCU Administrator” as early as April 2013.  To date, the City has yet to complete the recruitment process.  Our objections were ameliorated by the fact that this administrator would be in the Police Department’s chain of command.  Moreover, decisions involving the delivery of public safety services should have input from the law enforcement and fire service professionals on your management team and arbitrary measures should not be made in a vacuum.  Furthermore, when implementing changes, those who are directly affected by such decisions should have a seat at the table.  As the representative of over 370 law enforcement officers (stakeholders) whose lives depend on this crucial component of the City’s operation, the Fraternal Order of Police should have had some input on a prospective performance improvement plan. 
PSCU is a highly sensitive and sophisticated operation, requiring expert control and oversight from a law enforcement official.  To have a civilian, who has minimal law enforcement experience at best, oversee such an operation is injudicious.  As you know, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) has warned Chief Martinez via e-mail in pertinent part “an entity is not allowed access to the Florida Crime Information Center and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center without direct control or management control from a recognized criminal justice agency.”  On a yearly basis MBPD personnel conduct hundreds of thousands queries into the FCIC/NCIC database.  Limiting our personnel’s access to real-time CJIS information severely endangers their safety and ability to effectively discharge their duties.  Unnecessary delays in the obtainment of CJIS records could be perilous to our members’ personal safety.  Throughout the industry, all of the most successful and efficiently run 911 Centers/PSAP’s (Public Safety Answering Points) have sworn supervisory personnel on shifts.  This latest decision in essence is taking PSCU in the opposite direction.    
While the motives of this decision on its face appear to be innocent and uninformed, we respectfully request you keep the oversight of the Miami Beach Public Safety Communications Unit under the direction and control of the Police Chief and his sworn assignees – men and women who possess the background, knowledge, skills, abilities and specialized understanding that our professional law enforcement officers deserve and require.  
Alejandro Bello, FOP President/Sergeant 
Fraternal Order of Police William Nichols Lodge #8 
999 - 11 Street Miami, FL 33139

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