Is Tamarac Getting What They are Paying for with BSO?

Freelance Photo by Gina Fontana

Are residents in the City of Tamarac getting the number of officers to protect them as stated in their contract with Broward Sheriff’s Office? Allegations have surfaced that residents are routinely getting ripped off by Tamarac BSO, leaving areas neglected by little police presence.

A five-year contract signed on October 2010 amounting to almost $12 million dollars annually, states that the city should have 18 officers on duty in any given 24 hour period.

“The truth is, we get far, far less than that,” said a BSO officer who asked not to be named, “You’ll be lucky if there are five guys on patrol.”

What should concern residents is that the Mayor and City Commissioners voted to raise our millage rate (taxes) to accommodate hiring more officers.

According to the Sun Sentinel, residents will pay more in property taxes in 2013, with the city adding five new police officers.

“We are increasing the millage rate, because we have to pay for five additional law enforcement officers,” Commissioner Harry Dressler said.

“The number of service calls has increased dramatically over the last three years. For law enforcement to be proactive, we need more police officers on the street. We are also spending money on technology upgrades for police services.”

I don’t disagree. I mean, who doesn’t want more officers patrolling their streets?

In the contract with BSO and Tamarac, minimum staffing is so vague that never mentions how many officers will actually be on the road patrolling the community.

Tamarac’s problem isn’t having enough officers in Tamarac – it’s getting the officers that are presumably contracted, out there patrolling the community. But the problem with BSO’s contract with Tamarac is that it was written so vaguely, that this could mean just about any personnel.

“Yes, 18 deputies in a 24 hour period includes all personnel because the City was misled by way of the wording, as to actual personnel assigned to patrol.”

The way BSO gets away with the limited road patrol deputies is they include these personnel members:

  • Six Criminal Investigations Detectives and their Sergeant
  • Two Community Policing Deputies
  • Two School Resource Officers
  • Four Motor Deputies
  • Four Selective Enforcement Team Detectives (SET), and their Sergeant
  • Three Administrators (two Lieutenant’s and the Chief).

Until recently, the City of Tamarac was broken into eight zones in which BSO worked. The ninth Zone was recently added because the eight were so large that it was impossible for the deputies to cover.

“The Road Patrol Deputies, should be at a minimum of nine to cover the nine patrol zones, but on average there are usually only three to five, which is an officer safety issue as well as a lack of police protection for the city.”

BSO in Tamarac has been also set back with three officer arrests as well. After SET Detective Mathew Eisenberg, was charged with punching a homeless man in October, Chief Marc Duguay took three deputies from road patrol and put them in the SET Team along with the motor deputies to cover the suspended Detective.

In May, Tamarac BSO Deputy David Wimberley was convicted by a Broward jury over falsifying a police report to cover up abusive actions over an arrest he made at a 7-11. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Another Deputy, Brian Swadkins was charged with one count of falsifying records. His case is pending.

With 2 12-Hour patrol shifts per day and eight deputies and a sergeant assigned to each of the four patrol squads, the squads are never at full staffing with vacations, training, sickness, injuries and detached deputies.

There is no argument that Tamarac has fine officers patrolling the streets.  Residents deserve to see more of them in any given hour as well as a contract that needs to be amended specifying this.

About Sharon Aron Baron

avatar Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac.

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