Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Miami Beach Police having trouble getting cops to volunteer for off-duty work at Ocean Drive nightclubs

Last July 14, decorated Miami Beach police sergeant Mike Muley was suspended after it was alleged he had been drinking at an Ocean Drive night spot where he had been working off-duty.

The next day, Miami Beach's new police chief, Dan Oates, responded to the incident by announcing that officers would no longer be allowed to work off-duty at nightclubs.

The Miami Herald's Chuck Rabin reported, "critics say the move will hamper policing efforts as patrol officers will have to respond to the thousands of yearly calls from the clubs."

Miami Beach Police Chief Dan
Oates was caught napping at 

a recent Command Staff meeting.
However another effect of Oates' ban on off-duty work was its financial impact to the city. Nightclubs and other businesses that employ off-duty officers, pay the city $10 for every hour an officer works, in addition to the $35 an hour an officer makes. One Miami Beach business that's not a nightclub, paid the city almost $22,000 last year.

But six weeks after banning off-duty work, Chief Oates reversed himself.

Cops would now be allowed, once again, to work off-duty at clubs.

But there would be revisions to the off-duty policy...the biggest change being that officers would "be rotated to different locations during the off-duty shift at the discretion of the supervisor in charge," and off-duty officers would no longer work an entire shift at any one club as had been the practice for years.


Earlier on Random Pixels: Miami Beach Police investigating drive-by shooting at Fat Tuesday's on Ocean Drive

Now it appears that Chief Oates' attempt to fix something that wasn't really broken in the first place, is coming back to bite him in the ass.

In a letter sent yesterday [embedded below] to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and the city commissioners, City Manager Jimmy Morales writes:
The following five Ocean Drive clubs, all of which participated to some degree in the previous off-duty program, continue to go without coverage because officers have not volunteered in sufficient numbers to make these work details practical for the Department:
1 The Clevelander - 1020 Ocean Drive
2 Fat Tuesday's - 918 Ocean Drive
3 Mango's - 900 Ocean Drive
4 Ocean's Ten - 960 Ocean Drive
5 Wet Willies - 760 Ocean Drive
Through the Ocean Drive Association, these five clubs have sought to begin off~duty coverage again. They have expressed their willingness to pay for up to four officers a night to cover these clubs. However, despite repeated offers to our police officers of such work and despite several adjustments of the hours and assignments to entice interest, the Department has been unable to get sufficient numbers of officers to volunteer for this nightclub work on Ocean Drive. [Emphasis mine.]

That last line is not sitting well with many rank and file members of the force who feel that Morales is blaming them for a problem that stems from Chief Oates' heavy-handed overreaction to an isolated incident.

Morales continues:
Off-duty work is always a volunteer assignment. It has not been unusual to have nightclub jobs go unfilled in the past because officers do not volunteer, including for jobs on Ocean Drive. Unless there are sufficient volunteers to regularly staff the entire Ocean Drive nightclub detail, it is not productive for the Department to expend the effort to coordinate incomplete and ad hoc, week~to-week and day~to-day coverage. The Ocean Drive Association has been informed that because of the staffing problem, for the time being, the Department is dropping further efforts to fill the Ocean Drive off-duty nightclub assignments.

Your move, Chief Oates.


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