With the coronavirus running rampant in South Florida, the Miami-Dade Police Department is cracking down on seatbelt violators, forcing needless interactions with citizens, even though the county has issued social distancing guidelines.
But the economic lockdown is also affect the budgets of local government which is probably why the police department has chosen the most inappropriate time to shakedown the citizenry.
After all, policing is about revenue generating above anything else, especially safety. Why should we expect it to be any different during a global pandemic?
But even the police union is not happy with the decision to send out motorcycle patrols to enforce seatbelt violations, according to the Miami Herald.
The initiative by Miami-Dade police seems off-track with policy laid out by Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez a little over a month ago and social distancing rules designed to limit close interaction. Ramirez had said police would continue to do “police work,” but that the department will “prioritize our strategies given the effect this virus has on the entire criminal justice system and our officers’ well-being.”
The plan, announced Wednesday, drew questions from the leader of Miami-Dade’s police union.
“At a time when we’re supposed to stay away from people as much as possible, I don’t know if this is the best time to start this initiative,” said Steadman Stahl, president of Miami-Dade’s Police Benevolent Association, which represents most of the department’s 3,000 sworn officers.
Reached Wednesday afternoon, Miami-Dade police spokespersons said the initiative was just business as usual for police, who will continue to conduct traffic stops.
The motorcycle patrols were out in force this morning and will be out again on April 28 despite police insisting there is no monthly quota.
Miami-Dade County, the most populated county in the state, is also home to the highest number of coronavirus victims as well as the highest number of unemployed people as a result of the virus. The last thing they need is a $129 ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, especially when there is hardly anybody on the road compared to normal times.
In December, the Miami-Dade Police Department made international news after shooting and killing two innocent people, including a UPS driver who had been taken hostage, after firing more than 200 rounds at the suspects.