The Fort Lauderdale Police Street Crimes Unit is back, but I took some flack! Stay tuned!………… Tim
When we told you about the daytime crackhead stabbing at Dixie Highway and NE 13th Street, and the unacceptable performance of the BSO 911 call center last week, we didn’t know just how much of a &%#! storm it might ignite downtown.
I reported on this blog that the new City Commission’s “mission to cut expenses” led City officials to nearly nix the productive anti-crime squad. That brought out the ire of Mayor Seiler, who told me (and commented on this blog) that he strongly disagreed with the decision to lay-off the Street Crimes Unit, and that I should clear up that the City Commission had no part in the decision.
Seiler on the Street Crimes Unit
Then I got a call from the City Manager, George Gretsas. I have a good working relationship with the Manager, and when I called him last week to ask if his administration was responsible for the tough crime squad’s furlough, and didn’t get a call back, I assumed that my “source”, a high ranking Police Official, was probably right on the money.
Adderley and Gretsas a few years back
Turns out that Gretsas was on vacation, and his Assistant, David Hebert, didn’t get the message to phone me for days. Gretsas says he had “nothing to do with the decision” to transfer the squad, and that Chief Adderley would be making that clear soon. I was then copied on an e-mail from Adderley to a neighborhood anti-crime activist that was upset over the uptick in crime in his area. This should put the issue to rest.
Here’s the Chief’s e-mail:
Sal, just to clarify some points mentioned in the blog. Although there has been an increase of crime in April, we did have a 4.6% reduction of part one crime in the first quarter of 2009. It was my decision, not the City Administration to temporarily reassign members of the Street Crimes Unit to the Patrol Division. Neither the Commission nor the City Manager ordered any reductions in the police department’s budgeted overtime. My decision was based on overtime expense. However, the Street Crimes Unit has been fully staffed and operational for the past week. I agree with you, the Street Crimes Unit has been a tremendous success. I am currently working with the Budget Office to address the Department’s overtime expense. At the first meeting in May, we will have an item for Commission consideration for additional resources to support crime reduction strategies. Your continued support for the Police Department is greatly appreciated!!!
Stay tuned!………… Tim