Hallandale Beach Mayoral Candidate Keith London Is Misleading The Public With His Claim That He Has The Support Of The City’s First Responders

Hallandale Beach mayoral candidate Keith London is misleading the citizens of his city when he claims in recent social media posts that he has the support of the municipality’s first responders. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth, as members of both the Broward County PBA and the Hallandale Beach Professional Fire Fighters have joined forces to actively campaign against his candidacy and officially endorsed Joy Adams.

“London is misogynistic, racist, homophobic and a bully,” Broward County PBA President Jeff Marano said. “These are not qualities the Broward County PBA, the Hallandale Beach Professional Fire Fighters or the residents should accept in a candidate for the city’s most powerful position. London has failed the city of Hallandale Beach.”

Broward County PBA Members Should Oppose Amendment 3; Would Make Our Schools Less Safe

As the president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, we are committed to protecting the rights of our men and women in blue and ensuring that our communities are safe. When Floridians vote in this November’s general election, they should vote NO on Amendment 3—which would risk school security funding and make it harder to keep our classrooms as safe as they ought to be.

The leading proponents of Amendment 3 are running countless ads on TV and social media discussing how this law would purportedly empower voters by giving them the reins for any gambling expansion in the state.

What they don’t want voters to know is that Amendment 3 would jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars in current education funding that goes directly towards the Education Enhancement Trust Fund (EEFT). Additionally, Florida would walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars in future education funding going directly towards the EEFT. That fund has a Safe Schools Allocation and a Mental Health Assistance Allocation. In translation, that money helps keep our kids, teachers and classrooms safe.

This funding also pays for School Resource Officers (SROs) and goes directly towards expanding school-based mental health care in our education system, which helps to minimize violent incidents at schools—many of which stem from a lack of care. Research has shown that almost 60% of the mass shootings that have taken place in our country have been carried out by people with a diagnosed or demonstrable mental disorder.

It should be stated that the Broward County PBA’s opposition to Amendment 3 does not mean that we support gambling. Local communities should be empowered to make those decisions that reflect the desires of their constituents. However, a blanket ban like Amendment 3 that risks hundreds of millions of dollars of funding that goes towards our education system and keeping our students safe, is not worth considering.

We should be doing everything in our power to ensure that our schools have ample resources for more SROs. This last session, the governor signed into law a sweeping bill that, in part, helps to protect our schools from the type of attack we saw at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Here in Broward County, fulfilling the requirement to fund at least one SRO at every school has stretched the county budget thin. Why would we pass an amendment into our state’s Constitution that might make it harder for local governments to properly fund education and keep our schools safe? The fact is that this amendment, written by large corporate interests for their benefit only, would make our schools less safe.

That is why on November 6, we hope that voters will make the right choice and vote NO on Amendment 3—for the safety of our schools and our children.

Sincerely,

Jeff Marano
President, Broward County PBA

Robert Cuba Wins BCPBA’s 2018 Scholarship Essay Contest

The Broward County Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (BCPBA) presented awards to the winners of its annual college scholarship essay contest at its quarterly board of directors meeting held on July 19, 2018.

The organization awarded top scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year to five students of the organization’s law enforcement members. The essay topic for the applicants was, “The opioid crisis in America has reached epidemic proportions, and this disease doesn’t discriminate based on race, ethnic origin, age or socio-economic status. Families are being destroyed, and there doesn’t seem to be an answer to eradicating this problem. New solutions must be developed, and the law enforcement component must be part of the new equation. What do you think law enforcement’s role should be in striking a balance between upholding the law against the possession and use of illegal narcotics and the option of treatment, instead of punishment, for the offender?”

This year’s first place winner is Robert Cuba of Pembroke Pines. Robert received a $1,200 scholarship, which will be applied toward his education at the University of Florida. The first place scholarship award was sponsored by Matthew Oppedisano of the Wellington, Florida-based Law Enforcement Retirement Advisory Service.

The second place winner was Lexi O’Brien of Fort Lauderdale. Lexi received a $600 scholarship, donated by Richard Applefeld, and will be applied toward her education at the University of Central Florida.

The remaining winners each received scholarships in the amount $500 from the Broward County PBA.

The third place recipient was Brianna Costello of Jacksonville. Brianna is currently attending the University of North Florida, and will continue to do so through graduate school. Taylor Seldin of Boynton Beach earned the fourth place award, and will be attending the University of Central Florida. The fifth place winner was Lesley Cosme of Riverview. Lesley will be attending Penn State University.

The Broward County PBA Annual Scholarship Award was founded in 2003 as part of The HOPE Fund’s mission to assist the children of law enforcement members in their effort to attend college. To be eligible for the scholarship, participants must be the son or daughter of a Broward County PBA member in good standing and plan to be a part-time or full-time student at an accredited two- or four-year university. More information about the scholarship can be found at bcpba.org.

The Winning Essay

With the recent increase in media scrutiny, police officers have been facing mounting pressure to meet high standards in every aspect of their jobs. The opioid crisis creates a new challenge: should police officers arrest opioid addicts at the cost of breaking up families and potentially derailing lives?

According to Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing, one of the core principles of policing is “To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary, of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.”

Peel’s statement provides strong philosophical support for the idea that the police should address opioid abuse by enforcing the law, the same way they are expected to address other crimes. Although ignoring the individual needs of opioid addicts seems objectionable at first, there are numerous reasons why Peel’s principle still holds true in this case.

Before they have a chance to be arrested, opioid addicts have many treatment options available to them. They can have their health insurance company pay for their rehab, seek out help from charitable or faith-based organizations, or stop abusing drugs on their own. But once their addiction becomes problematic enough for them to be confronted by police, whether it’s for a drug-related offense or for some other crime, the best course of action is for the officers to arrest the offender to prevent further harm.

Our society has come to expect a lot from police officers, but legally, it is the responsibility of the courts to decide the fates of the accused. They specialize in this task, so they are much better equipped to find a solution for each person who is arrested, whether that solution involves treatment, punishment, both, or neither.

Evidence linking substance abuse to crime provides a strong argument that police officers have a responsibility to separate drug addicts from their communities to promote public safety. A 1981 study found that opiate addicts in Baltimore were six times more likely to commit crimes while they were using opiates than while they were abstinent.

The police do not have the necessary resources to single-handedly solve the opioid crisis, but they don’t have to. The role of law enforcement should primarily be to enforce the law to protect the community. It is up to higher levels of government to create and modify laws, and the courts have the final say on the best way to interpret those laws for the benefit of society, but this only matters if the police do their part and bring them opioid addicts in need of assistance.

City of Hollywood Failing To Comply With State Law

The City of Hollywood’s non-compliance in properly funding its Police Officers’ Retirement System could cost the municipality, and its taxpayers, $5.5 million in State Premium tax money for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to the Florida Division of Retirement and an actuarial report prepared for the City.

By failing to deposit $4.1 million into the Trust to cover the full amounts of the 13th check distributions in 2014 and 2015, Chapter 185 monies are being withheld, and additional tax revenues may be withheld as well.

“The City continues to kick the can with no real solutions,” Broward County PBA President Jeff Marano said.

The City of Hollywood has been notified that it is advantageous for it to deposit the $4.1 million into the Trust because the State Premium tax money in the amount of $5.5 million would be released in order to offset the City’s required contribution. The City of Hollywood was also notified that it is contributing to the Trust as if it is receiving the State Premium tax money, which has created a funding deficiency. If the situation is not corrected in a timely manner, additional funding pressures will be placed on the City as the plan’s sponsor, which could be up to an additional $50 million in lost revenue.

The Florida Capitol Report For The Week Ending Feb. 9

The halfway mark of the 2018 Legislative Session has arrived.

The major event of the week was the separate passages of the 2018-19 spending plans. As a state, Florida is now operating in the $80 billion range and, with these two proposals, we will be reaching and then eclipsing $87 Billion. Hard to believe.

The House and Senate have several areas of disagreement between the two spending plans. K-12 Education, Higher Education, Environmental, Health Care and Corrections are all areas where the plans diverge widely. The showdown over K-12 Education could prove to be quite a battle during the session’s second half. Monstrous battles over big spending items can suck the air out of the room. This leaves other issues as after thoughts. Our lobbying job will require constant contact with the legislative deciders in order to keep our issues “in play.”

Let’s review what remains “in play” at the halfway point of the session.

From a spending plan standpoint, PBA bargaining units are in at least one budget proposal … in some cases both proposals. That means pay raises are “in play” for the negotiations between the House and Senate.

The COLA legislation passed through a single Senate committee and it was workshopped in a House committee. That probably puts the issue “in play” to get funding for a special impact study which is a constitutional requirement for any benefit enhancement. If this COLA study occurs, we may have the opportunity to add in estimating the costs to reverse the age and years of service requirements for FRS employees hired after July 1, 2011. Getting an actuary to study the costs of both ideas in one study is “in play.”

The PTSD legislation has been heard in committees of both the House and the Senate thereby placing this issue in a position to pass by the end of session.

Both local pension bills are ready to be heard on the House floor. The process for local bills happens later in the session when the chambers follow a consent procedure. This procedure allows them to roll through multiple local bills in a short amount of time. The local pension bills seem to be on track to pass.

The electronic threats bill and the toll exemption for unmarked LEO vehicles are “in play” to pass this session, too. We had to amend the toll exemption bill onto another item (SB 1012) to get the issue moving in the Senate, but that is not uncommon.

Politics and legislating any issue can often be a struggle. Lobbying can be intense. It takes a strategy. PBA has put in a strategic plan for every issue that was mentioned up above and for several that are not being mentioned.

One key component of our strategy is to help elect supporters/allies of Law Enforcement, Correctional and Probation Officers and their families to important positions within our state. To facilitate building up our allies, PBA leaders met with multiple statewide candidates this week and outlined to them the hopes, dreams and struggles for officers and their families. We were impressed by each candidate.

There are 28 days left.

Thank you to everyone who lobbied with us this week:

Florida PBA President John Rivera, Senior Vice President Dick Brickman, Treasurer Ernie George, Vice President John “Kaz” Kazanjian, Vice President Mick McHale and Sergeant at Arms Jeff Marano

Broward County PBA Vice President Rod Shirvin

FHP Chapter President Bill Smith

Correctional Probation Officers Trusteeship Tony Highsmith