Opinion: Coral Gables Police Department’s Troubling Vacancy Rate.

On January 27, 2024, the Coral Gables Police Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) took a significant step towards transparency by sharing a video on Instagram to highlight the pressing public safety concerns in the City of Coral Gables.
Our police officers dedicate themselves daily to serving and protecting our community, facing dangers that could result in harm or worse. It’s a commitment not many choose to undertake, and it’s disheartening to see the essential good they provide go unacknowledged. As residents and business owners in Coral Gables, my wife and I stand in full support of the Coral Gables Police Officers.
Just this week alone, 5 officers are transitioning to the Miami-Dade County Police Department, one to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, another to the City of Doral Police Department, and one more to the City of Coral Springs Police Department. By the end of March, the Coral Gables Police Department is facing 38 vacancies. With these changes, the department could see a vacancy rate of over 20% before the year is over, a significant challenge to public safety.
I believe it’s crucial that we, along with our elected officials, must show our officers that we value their sacrifice and dedication to the residents of Coral Gables by ensuring their compensation is competitive with that of neighboring communities. The current pay and benefits disparity not only affects our ability to retain our dedicated officers but also impacts the overall safety and security of our community.
Thankfully, with City Manager Amos Rojas at the helm, there’s hope. His extensive experience in police management and commitment to recognizing the value of his employees, even amid fiscal constraints, promises a balanced approach. Let’s stand behind City Manager Rojas and our Coral Gables Police Officers.

IStandWithTheCoralGablesPolice

Ignacio M. Alvarez, Esq., Coral Gables Resident
Managing Partner, ALGO Law Firm, LLP
Retired Police Major, Miami-Dade Police Department
Candidate for Sheriff of Miami-Dade County, 2024
Instagram: @ignacioalvarezforsheriff

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13 thoughts on “Opinion: Coral Gables Police Department’s Troubling Vacancy Rate.

  1. The buck stops with CG Chief of Police. Problem is our Chief is more interested in rubbing elbows with UM coaches and athletes, and playing golf, than he is in managing the police department. He sees himself as a rock star entitled to unlimited taxpayer dollars while delivering lousy results. Check out his demands for his personal office… he personally cost the city taxpayers many tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit his new office to his liking.

  2. People. Wake up! This city is in turmoil cause of the lack of leadership at the top in the police department. Instead of taking responsibility for issues in Coral Gables, Ed Hudak places blame on everyone else. Blaming the FOP for people leaving is the biggest joke. Take responsibility Ed. Employees are leaving cause of pay/benefits, morale, and lack of leadership. People are tired of the smoke and mirrors, optics, and lies you and your cronies have created. Take a seat on the bench, just like you did at UM when you were handing out water to the players.

  3. How did we get to this point??? It’s as simple as 1. Lago – 2. Iglesias – 3. Hudak
    1. Lago is a behind the scenes police detractor. In public he says, “I back the blue.” Behind closed doors he thinks cops are just low wage workers, only good for a photo opportunity. Commissioner Castro said it in the last commission meeting. 2 personas ..Public and a Private. FAKE as the come.

    2. Iglesias: He was the city manager that was supposed to be looking over all departments making sure they are being run efficiently. Every department in the city is hanging on by a thread. Automotive, Public Work, Communications, Fire, Police, Building & Zoning..the list goes on and on. Iglesias let the ship run adrift and was unable to right it. That is why he is gone. Make no mistake about it.

    3. Hudak: Talk about a fraud. Listen to him talk and you will hear a song of lies. The police department is in the worst shape its ever been in under his watch. It all falls on his shoulders when it comes down to it. Vacancies at an all time high. Morale at an all time low. Citizens are just too busy to actually see that he is a phony. It is all catching up to him now, though. UM scandal involving a female janitor that he kept out of the news and out of the State Attorney’s hands. The recent motorcycle crash while doing a free escort for the University of Miami. TOTAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST!! He works for the University!! Thank god for the Miami Herald article titled “Coral Gables police chief exchanged friendly texts with a suspect: a UM football coach” Google it. The Baltimore Sun also about the incident titled, ” Woman says Maryland assistant football coach exposed himself when he was with Miami. He took a polygraph denying it.”

    Commissioner Menendez was 100% correct when he said the city was adrift in a cesspool of corruption!! Hopefully the new city manger can begin to fix the issues.

  4. Now in response to this opinion piece… There are so many factors at play that residents are not aware of and that would easily be left out of an opinion piece. For example, why has the police union refused to allow the rank and file to vote on the contract on the table that offers a substantial increase? What political games are afoot that we are not being told about? Perhaps Baños can actually do some homework and find out for us before putting out an opinion piece with no context on the actual background on this issue or the measures being taken to resolve it.

  5. Oh dear “MXTR”. You are so sorely mistaken. You are challenging “Fernandont” to be proactive and bring forth ideas, when your glorious leader, El Comandante Fernandez, has enacted zero meaningful legislation in almost a year of office. Well, aside from increasing his own salary, but we’re tired of hearing about that aren’t we… Let’s be very clear about this: Baños is El Comandante’s pet. Melissa Castro is El Comandante’s pet. We HOPE Rojas will not become El Comandante’s pet, too. And since we’re on the topic of humility, decency, and manners, maybe you should teach Melissa Castro some of those qualities.

  6. As a resident of Coral Gables for nearly 30 years, I will tell you what I feel about all of this. I’ve always taken for granted not only the fast response times that the police and fire department record, but also the professional demeanor of those that have responded. I’ve been pulled over several times (for things I’ve done wrong) and have had reports written for several things over the years. I ALWAYS had pleasant interactions with the police, until my latest encounter.

    While at an event with many families in attendance, a younger officer was speaking to another officer (going female) and continued to use profanity throughout the conversation which just came off as unprofessional. After the third or fourth time I heard the F word, I looked at him, made eye contract, and he instantly became aggressive toward me. He walk towards me, about 10 steps away, got to close to my face and asked if I had problem, and then asked if I wanted a problem. I didn’t argue, walked away and felt disgusted with what just happened.

    I contacted one of my personal friends within the police department and told her what happened. She asked where it happened, looked something up and found out who it was. She wasn’t surprised and told me that this is the future of the Coral Gables police department because they have lowered hiring requirements and it will likely continue to decline. She said (at that time) there were probably 10 people going to other police departments and many more just retiring. I learned last week that over 20 that left to other police departments, which is unacceptable. Now according to this article, there are more which isn’t surprising. Please fix this, FOR US!

  7. We are in this predicament thanks to the arrogance and incompetence of the manager who, at long last, was fired, responsible for posturing with the police union since their last contract ended two years ago. No one else but him to blame. At the time, we had a full complement of officers, 192, with 16 new positions approved by the commission, to enter the police academy and subsequent field training process, one that takes a year plus. The fired manager started his negotiating shenanigans and pompous posturing, at the expense of our public safety and one that has put us in this vacancy hole, 38 vacancies, 20% of the budgeted force. Wow! Why would any officer want to work in a city where the fired manager played games with their future for well over two years with no end in sight and then comes back with an “I am doing you a favor” offer? We hire the best men and women, only to see them go to other agencies who benefit from our high hiring and training standards and practices. At least we rid our city of the buffoon who got us into this totally unnecessary mess, reminiscent of prior manager Salerno, who also found our public safety a nice toy to play with. Enough is enough. I do not know a thing about the new city manager, however, I am hopeful that with his background, he will address the one thing that is not negotiable in our city, our public safety. It will take years for us to recover from the force void we are facing, thanks to the fired manager. I certainly hope that the new manager will make this the number one priority in his new role. The police department’s present hemorrhaging of our finest must be stopped. The police department officer shortage situation is one that is truly an E9-1-1 call. Let us respond and deal with it as the emergency it truly is.

  8. To the citizens and business owners of Coral Gables. Please wake up and smell the coffee. This police department has been run amuck for the last 5 years. The inner working politics has been an absolute joke! Promotions have been made due to friends and family, not on merit. There’s one person and only one person to blame for this. Ed Hudak(Hudakian). He has run the department into the ground and moral is at an all time low. The reason people are leaving this once famed department is because of 3 simple reasons- 1- pay and benefits. Chief Ed sits on the negotiations table and negotiates against the same people he supposedly leads. Really??? 2- promotions from within. Ed brought on a female Assistant Chief that was absolute garbage. Ran a side business during working hours, and was never around. He very easily could have promoted from within, as there were plenty of great candidates(one of which is an interim Chief at a department now in Virginia). Then he could fix his mistake and what does he do, hires another assistant chief from Miami dade county. 3- the treatment of officers/supervisors who aren’t on “his team” is so glaring that a blind person could see it. People are tired of the BS! Quit covering up stuff. Be transparent! Quit being a politician and be a Chief!

  9. Better Pay & Benefits + Officer Promotions + Firing the Chief of Police = Increased Morale and Retention of Coral Gables Police Officers

    Basic algebra!

  10. We have an exemplary, excellent police dept serving our community whom needs to be paid accordingly this turnover matter is unacceptable and must be addressed immediately out of fairness & safety concerns.

  11. Many years back, the Coral Gables Police Department was the PD where Miami-Dade Officers aspired to work. Now is the opposite. We are very blessed to live in this safer community due to the professional work of our police officers. I second the author in showing our officers that we value their sacrifice and dedication to the residents of Coral Gables by ensuring their compensation is more than just competitive with that of neighboring communities.

  12. Fernandont.. Just because you are Lago’s pet, does not give you the right to insult others that are bringing an issue to light. We all know the commissioners are underpaid, and I support and will continue to support salary increases for those who serve the residents. I believe our officers given that we have the highest tax rate in the area, should get paid the same or more as Miami-Dade police officers

    Be proactive. Bring forth ideas that we can all embrace instead of attacking someone who is sharing information.

    Maybe a drop of humility, decency, and manners which I am sure you have forgotten what your mother taught you, may assist you in future endeavors. Be nice

  13. What solutions has your buddy Fernandoesnothing offered to address this issue? Maybe increasing police salaries instead of his own?

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