Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 130372
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File Number: 130372 File Type: Resolution Status: Failed
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: POLICE TAKE HOME CARS Introduced: 2/25/2013
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 4/2/2013
Agenda Date: 4/2/2013 Agenda Item Number: 11A4
Indexes: POLICE
Sponsors: Sally A. Heyman, Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed

Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 4/2/2013 11A4 Adopted F
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Commissioner Heyman explained this resolution related to take-home cars for police officers and noted it was applicable to future hires in law enforcement pursuant to an existing ordinance. She pointed out that the Mayor had already addressed the issue of reducing the number of take-home vehicles in all other County departments. Commissioner Heyman expressed concern with Miami-Dade County Police Officers taking patrol cars into Broward County because different radio frequencies were used. She noted the 446 sworn Miami-Dade Police officers who currently resided in Broward County and had take-home vehicles would be grandfathered in and not affected by this resolution. Commissioner Heyman noted however, this resolution gave the MDPD Director the authority to provide a take-home vehicle to any officer who was on special detail or operations, as deemed appropriate. She stated for the record that the foregoing resolution was not presented as a public hearing item and no public dialogue was allowed for this item during Committee review. Commissioner Bell expressed her support for the foregoing resolution and provided a brief overview of how the City of Homestead addressed the issue of police officers living outside city limits with take-home vehicles. In response to Commissioner Diaz’ inquiry as to whether employees in departments other than Police, were restricted from taking vehicles home outside the County, Deputy Mayor Genaro Iglesias explained that employees of other departments, with a 24-hour response requirement, were allowed to take vehicles outside the County; however, the number of take-home vehicles had been reduced by approximately 302 since August 2011. Commissioner Diaz expressed concern that this resolution, as written, appeared to target and penalize only the Police Department. He also pointed out the difficulty in determining what constituted a critical situation and suggested the language be amended to provide that Department Directors and County Administration be responsible for managing restrictions on take-home vehicles, with respect to all departments; and to permit new hires to take vehicles outside the County’s boundaries for up to a 30-mile radius. Chairwoman Sosa reminded Board members that the reason police officers were assigned take-home vehicles initially was to provide a police presence in neighborhoods as a crime deterrent and those officer’s living in Broward County were now providing a visible police presence for Broward County taxpayers. She concurred with Commissioner Diaz in that this policy should be applicable to all County departments. Commissioner Suarez spoke in support of Commissioner Diaz’ comments regarding the need for a policy governing County vehicles being taking into other counties and noted the police patrol cars should not be subject to that restriction. He stated he could not support this resolution as written. Commissioner Souto noted he was involved in the establishment of the policy that allowed the Miami-Dade Police to take vehicles home. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry regarding the advantages and/or disadvantages of taking patrol cars outside of the County’s boundaries, Mr. Angus Butler, Assistant Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, provided a historical overview regarding the purpose of the Take-Home Vehicle Program. He stated the program was created in 1991 to establish a police presence and prolong serviceability of the vehicles. Mr. Butler noted an additional resolution was adopted in 2006 that expanded the program to include employees living in Broward, Collier, and Monroe Counties in order to enhance recruitment efforts. He noted, currently, there were ten vehicles in Palm Beach County; one vehicle in Monroe County; and the remaining take-home cars were located either in Miami-Dade or Broward Counties. Mr. Butler noted in the event of major incidents, other counties responded and the foregoing proposed resolution would impact that partnership, as well as the County’s police officer recruitment efforts. Commissioner Jordan noted the County was a regional type governmental entity and that she supported limiting take-home cars to Broward and Monroe Counties; however, she was opposed to taking this privilege away from new hires. She noted she felt that assignment of 24-hour vehicles should be the discretion of the department directors and stated that she could not support this item as presented. Commissioner Monestime described his personal experience, noting criminal activity in his neighborhood actually decrease due to the presence police vehicles from other municipalities being visible in the area. He stated that he could not support this resolution as presented. Mr. Andrew Axelrad, General Counsel, Dade County Police Benevolent Association (DCPBA), 10680 NW 25th Street, Miami, appeared before the Board on behalf of John Rivera, President Florida Police Benevolent Association, and noted this policy was subject to collective bargaining. He stated the representatives of the PBA were willing to work with the County Administration on a resolution and that the PBA was opposed to this resolution as written. Commissioner Heyman addressed the concerns raised in today’s discussion and noted this resolution was not targeting the Police Department. She spoke in support of department directors being authorized to assign take-home cars and supported designating overnight parking facilities for County cars assigned to employees living outside the County. Commissioner Heyman explained that this procedure was proposed for new hires assigned a marked patrol car rather than special detail and emergency response officers. She explained her reason for bringing this legislation forward and noted the requirement that cars remain in this County would serve as an incentive for police officers to live here. In response to Chairwoman Sosa’s inquiry as to whether she would be willing to defer this item and continue working with the Mayor, departmental staff, PBA representatives, and others to develop language supported by all parties, Commissioner Heyman declined. In response to Commissioner Heyman’s request for clarification, County Attorney Cuevas stated that all County departments, including Police, were under the Mayor’s jurisdiction; however, the Board established policy governing take-home cars in 1991 and had been active in determining policy for police take-home cars for the past 20 years. Responding to Commissioner Heyman’s inquiry as to whether all County Departments, except Police, were under the Mayor’s jurisdiction, Assistant County Attorney Eric Rodriguez confirmed this was correct with respect to take-home vehicles. He noted the Board adopted Resolution 491-91 establishing the Take-home Police Patrol Vehicle Program and confirmed that Commissioner Heyman was correct in that Board action was required for this particular issue since the Board established the original policy. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote.

Board of County Commissioners 3/5/2013 11A1 Deferred 4/2/2013 P
REPORT: The foregoing proposed resolution was deferred to the April 2, 2013 County Commission meeting at the request of Commissioner Heyman, Prime Sponsor.

Office of the Chairperson 2/27/2013 Scrivener's Errors 3/5/2013
REPORT: On handwritten page 1, the first paragraph should read: This item was amended at the Public Safety and Animal Services Committee on February 13, 2013. It cross-references Resolution R-1392-06 and adds an exception to the policy when the Police Director determines that the specialized nature of service or vehicle necessitates an expeditious response.

Office of the Chairperson 2/27/2013 Deferrals 3/5/2013
REPORT: The Prime Sponsor has requested deferral to the April 2, 2013 Board of County Commissioners meeting.

County Attorney 2/25/2013 Assigned Eric A. Rodriguez 2/25/2013

Public Safety & Animal Services Committee 2/13/2013 2A Amended Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendment(s) P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Assistant County Attorney Sanchez requested the foregoing proposed resolution be amended on handwritten page 3, third paragraph, line 2 following the word “FLORIDA,” to insert the language: “…notwithstanding Resolution R-1392-06…;” and to add to the end of the last line, “…or if the Police Director determines that the specialized nature of service or nature of vehicle necessitates an expeditious response requirement and exception to this policy…” Chairwoman Heyman provided an historical overview of the foregoing proposed resolution and noted her concerns regarding former Police Department Director James Loftus’ administrative decision to discontinue take-home vehicles for areas outside the boundaries of Miami-Dade County. She stated that a previously adopted ordinance provided that Broward County was exempted from this policy. Chairwoman Heyman noted she accepted the value of assigned cars which expedited the officers’ ability to respond more quickly; however, she expressed concern with take-home cars that leave this County and enter a different radio frequency and receive no dispatched calls for service. She indicated other counties had changed their policies to prohibit take-home cars if they needed to leave that county. Chairwoman Heyman explained that this new policy would be applicable to future classes and read into the record the intent of the foregoing resolution as reflected in the first “WHEREAS” statement on handwritten page 3 as follows: “…provides security presence in neighborhoods throughout Miami-Dade County as well as fully equipped Miami-Dade Police Department vehicle immediately available to be deployed for police work within Miami-Dade County…” In response to Commissioner Edmonson’s inquiry as to the length of time vehicles were assigned to officers, Mr. Juan Perez, Deputy Director Miami-Dade Police Department, stated the term was usually between three to five years, based upon the mileage of the vehicle. He confirmed Commissioner Edmonson’s comment that police officers assigned take-home cars paid $50 per pay period towards fuel and maintenance of the vehicles and that over the period that the vehicles were assigned, a considerable amount would have been collected for maintenance. Mr. Perez noted the miles vehicles traveled was contingent upon where the officer resided and explained that the $50 was meant to cover the costs for the vehicle to travel to and from home and work and during off duty hours. Commissioner Edmonson expressed concern that this policy would affect Police Department personnel hired after the adoption of this resolution and not the others. She noted it would mean some officers would be treated differently and stated this policy should apply to all officers or none. Chairwoman Heyman noted she believed this policy was currently in effect with respect to residency and noted personnel residing outside of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties were required to return their assigned vehicles this past year. Commissioner Edmonson explained that she was concerned with those officers who resided within Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and that this would affect the morale of the newly hired police officers because they would receive fewer benefits. She stated she could not support this item and indicated she believed that this change in policy should affect all personnel. In response to Commissioner Barreiro’s inquiry as to the maximum mileage a police vehicle must reach before it was retired, Mr. Perez stated this was determined contingent upon the department’s ability to purchase new vehicles. He noted that 30% of the vehicles in the current fleet were over 100,000 miles and that by year-end, and additional 732 vehicles would be in excess of 100,000 due to the inability to replace those vehicles. Regarding Commissioner Barreiro’s question of whether MDPD Officers could address violations outside of their jurisdiction, Mr. Perez stated MDPD officers could enforce the law countywide; however, they had no jurisdiction outside of the county. Pertaining to Chairwoman Heyman’s earlier comment that the cars that went outside the County had already been returned, Mr. Perez clarified that on December 13, 2011, former Director Loftus issued a memorandum recalling the vehicles that were outside of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties; however, that memorandum was placed on hold and the vehicles were never surrendered. Continuing, Mr. Perez stated the hold on Mr. Loftus’ memorandum resulted from a grievance filed by the union and to date, the small number of vehicles traveling outside Miami-Dade and Broward County’s boundaries were still take-home vehicles. Commissioner Barreiro expressed concern with police officers not being authorized to enforce the law in areas other than the local jurisdictions and noted this policy needed to be addressed. Regarding the issue of take-home vehicles, noted he strongly supported zero take-home cars. Commissioner Barreiro stated, however, that he see authorizing take home cars within a reasonable radius of travel from the County, if the officer had jurisdiction to perform law enforcement in the subject area. Mr. Perez further clarified that Miami-Dade County officers, who had take-home vehicles, were authorized to enforce the law anywhere in the County; however, when the vehicle leaves the County, the officers were only authorized to drive the vehicles back and forth from home to work. He advised that there were 2,606 vehicles in the department’s entire fleet and of those, 461 were outside of Miami-Dade County: 446 were in Broward and 15 in other areas. Mr. Perez noted approximately 17 percent of the department’s fleet left the County and advised that the revenue generated from the Take-Home Vehicle Program was $3.3 million. In response to Commissioner Bovo’s inquiry as to the vehicle uses permitted while off duty, Mr. Perez stated only sworn officers were authorized to use or occupy the vehicles and while off duty, they could use the vehicles to carry out mundane activities, such as grocery shopping, for increased visibility in the community. He affirmed that this policy was included in the department’s collective bargaining agreement. Referencing Commissioner Edmonson’s concern with this proposed policy affecting only newly hired employees, Commissioner Bovo recalled that while serving on the Compensation and Benefits Review Ad Hoc Committee, members were reviewing alternative approaches to future County employee benefits and noted it was realized that, at some point, the County must make some decisions that would only affect new hires. Commissioner Bovo noted he had no problem with the issue currently and spoke in support of Commissioner Barreiro’s suggestion that officers be given authority to enforce the law within a particular radius. Deputy Mayor Genaro Iglesias clarified that the intent of this legislation would not prohibit the assignment of a vehicle to an officer, but would prohibit the take home portion if the officer resided outside of Miami-Dade County. Chairwoman Heyman emphasized that this policy would be applicable to only future hires. Commissioner Barreiro asked the MDPD Police Director to take a look at the number of cars that were taken far outside of the County’s jurisdiction. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote. The foregoing proposed resolution was amended on handwritten page 3, third paragraph, line 2 following the word “FLORIDA,” to insert the language: “…notwithstanding Resolution R-1392-06…” and to add to the last line “…or if the Police Director determines that the specialized nature of service or nature of vehicle necessitates an expeditious response requirement and exception to this policy…”.

Legislative Text


WHEREAS, one of the principal reasons for allowing Miami-Dade Police Department (''MDPD'') vehicles to be taken home by its employees is that such vehicles provide a security presence in neighborhoods throughout Miami-Dade County as well as having fully equipped MDPD vehicles immediately available to be deployed for police work within Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, having newly hired personnel taking home MDPD vehicles outside Miami-Dade County does not satisfy the policy justification for allowing take home vehicles,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that >>notwithstanding Resolution R-1392-06,<< 1 the Mayor or Mayor’s designee is directed to implement a policy applicable to Miami-Dade Police Department personnel hired after the effective date of this resolution that allows the use of a take home vehicle only if the newly-hired personnel reside in Miami-Dade County >>or if the MDPD Director determines that the specialized nature of service or vehicle necessitates an expeditious response requiring an exception to the policy<<.

1 Committee amendments are indicated as follows: Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] are deleted, words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< are added.

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