FLORIDA: City of Miami Gardens
Miami Gardens is a solid, working and middle class community of unique diversity. It is the home to two major sports teams, the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins’, and has the distinction of hosting both the 2007 and 2010 Super Bowl games. Incorporated on May 13, 2003, as the 33rd municipality in Miami-Dade County, it is the third largest city in Miami-Dade County.
Currently, local patrol services as well as emergency and non-emergency dispatch are being provided to the City through an agreement with Miami-Dade County Police Department. As a condition of incorporation, the City’s Charter mandated that the “City shall exclusively utilize the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) for a specific level of patrol staffing for an initial period of three years. At the end of the three year period the City may elect not to renew the local patrol contract”. In 2006, the final year of the local patrol contract with MDPD, the City had to make a decision, renew with MDPD or step up to the challenge of creating its own police department, the City chose the latter.
In the years following incorporation, the City experienced unprecedented growth and development, and with this growth came increased demands to improve the level of services provided to residents and business owners. Over time, it became clear that the City’s priorities could not translate into the services provided by the Miami Dade Police Department, and after months of feasibility studies, public hearings, and budget analysis, the City Council decided not to renew the Local Patrol Contract and directed staff to work towards establishing an independent municipal police department.
With an 18 month deadline to establish a police department, the City moved swiftly to recruit an experienced police chief and deputy and in September 2006, the City Manager announced the hiring of five senior command staff positions and established a transition team to work on all aspects of the process from hiring timelines and vehicle purchases to development of policies and procedures. Realizing police officers were in demand all over the nation, City Manager, Dr. Danny O. Crew, developed a highly attractive set of recruiting incentives designed to be attractive to potential applicants, and to ensure Miami Gardens recognizes the value of its pubic safety employees. This package was presented to the Mayor and City Council and enthusiastically approved.
The Incentive Package includes:
- $12,000 Signing Bonus
- Additional $2,000 Bonus for Detectives
- $7,000 Moving allowance
- $2,000 City residence incentive
- $5,000 housing down payment assistance (if purchasing in the City)
- Lateral rank entry
- One week leave credit upon hiring
- 100% Tuition Reimbursement and progressive education-based pay scale
- Non-contributory Pension
- 457 Supplemental pension plan – City matches 3%
- Take home car
- Hold harmless on accrued sick leave
- 14 Paid holidays
“There isn’t another incentive package like this anywhere in the State”, says Assistant City Manager Renee Farmer, “the way the City Manager crafted this package speaks volumes on the importance we place on improving public safety in this community.”
The creation of the City of Miami Gardens Police Department has generated a buzz in the law enforcement community, and has also gained a great deal of attention from the local media. During a recent CBS 4 News interview, Miami Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera stated “the entire package is a wonderful package, and I think it will set the standard much higher for the rest of the Departments.”
With these incentives, the City plans to build a solid, technologically advanced law enforcement agency of 180 individuals. This will include 150 sworn law enforcement officers with an equally important assembly of 30 non-sworn support personnel. The target date for full staffing is December 1, 2007, a lofty goal that the City anticipates meeting.
The City will begin accepting applications for police officer and sergeant on January 2, 2007. For detailed information, salary hiring charts, and employment applications see the City of Miami Gardens Police Department Recruitment website, www.miamigardenspolice.org, or call (305) 474-MGPD (6473).