07/14/02 3rd Draft: Added information at the bottom
Reliable sources have verified that Police Chief Roy Arigo told City Manager Mike Levenson that he needed another 26 police officers and more money to properly operate the police force and provide Coral Springs with proper protection. He was bluntly told that he must do the job with the current size of the force and budget or else Levenson will find another police chief that can. Chief Arigo was said to be livid with the City Manager and that he has serious concerns about the safety Coral Springs’ 120,000 citizens.
Coralsprings.com has found out that the level of the police force at various times during a typical week is dangerously low. On Sunday July 7 there were no more than 8 police officers patrolling the city. Should anything of any consequence be happening, there would be no possible way that the size of the shift would be able to handle it, and protect the rest of the city as well. This is just too few a number of patrolling officers given a city of this size. We have been told that there have been other times where there were less than 7 police officers patrolling the city. This dangerous situation can occur on weekends and at night time where crimes have been known to proliferate.
Furthermore, instead of adding badly needed detectives to the police staff, police officers are now being issued ‘K-Tel’ style detective kits so that they can perform Detective like work at the scene of the crime. This is also in keeping with the city manager’s eye to reduce city spending so that social programs and other commission related projects can be financed. We will now have uniformed police officers playing Colombo in this city, while crimes go unsolved due to lack of experience and lack of Detectives to handle the work load.
With the policemen’s collective bargaining agreement on the table at the end of this year, the citizens of Coral Springs can look forward to problems given the current state of mind of the city commissioners and city manager. The City Manager will have a hard time explaining to the police negotiators that they cannot get a pay raise due to lack of funds. How will they explain that over the past few years, the City Manager obtained effective increases in salary and benefits averaging 30% per year while the rest of the city employees are limited to a maximum 7% increase? How can the city commissioners explain that there is no money available to increase the police force but there is millions available to subsidized the health care for retiring city commissioners? . What about the city spending millions of dollars on the development expenses of the Downtown Coral Springs project (Los Mizner) but no money for detectives.
It also seems crazy that the City Commissioners would be considering placing a 10 foot high wall around the police headquarters on Coral Springs Drive while leaving its citizens with less than adequate protection. The Fort is protected but the farmers are out in the open!
Given that Mohammed Atta, the head of the 9/11 attack on the New York World Trade Center lived right here in Coral Springs, you would think that rather than reducing city spending on our police force we would be increasing it. However, the City Manager and the commissioners have more important ways to spend taxpayers money than on protecting their lives….
Chief Arigo has told Coralsprings.com that the city is not short 26 officers. SO we did our research and spoke to several people in the ‘know’. IT turns out that the FBI recommends 2.1 officers per thousand population. That means we should have 245 officers, we have less that 190 at least 50 short. compare to other cities , pines 220 officers similar size city. So Chief Arigo was right. We are not short 26 officers we are short 50 instead. Even worse! City Manager Mike Levenson also gave an answer to this article by saying that there is no trouble between him and the Chief.
– Police now have to tell people they have to wait till the next day to have their home/car processed if they were burglarized. This is because the Detectives are completely swamped. and not having money for more cops, they have paid out more in overtime this year than ever to cover the road.