Today Miami-Dade County unveiled a statue dedicated to those police officers who serve above and beyond the call of duty at the Port of Miami. The nearly life-size bronze sculpture by world renowned artist Bobby Brittero depicts a police officer being carried away by fellow officers after succumbing to fatigue brought on by working between 60 and 90-hours overtime during a two-week pay period. His last words are immortalized at the base of the statue: "Just One More Truck..."
"These police truck inspectors are our first line of defense against terrorism," a county spokesman said on condition of anonymity. When asked why he wanted to remain anonymous, he replied, "Do you know how much these guys make? Because of overtime, they're pulling in between $170,000 to $180,000 a year. Including their base pay, that's costing the county-- you and me-- over $18 million a year. Critics say these jobs could be handled cheaper by security guards. It's controversial, man."
According to the Miami Herald, many of the officers have been assigned to the Port because at some point in their careers there comes a time when "'they need to be sent somewhere where they aren't interacting with the public on a daily basis. This was one of those places,' said Capt. Gary Shimminger.
'Every organization has its Siberia,' added Sgt. Norberto Gonzalez."
Aside from the fact that fatigue may hamper their job performance in keeping Miami safe, we think the county's program of removing potential "Dirty Harries" from the street and sending them to "Siberia" probably more than pays for itself when one considers how much money the county won't have to pay out in lawsuits brought on by citizens who have been manhandled or shot by the same people who have sworn to serve and protect them.
Of course the downside to this program is that it might encourage more police officers to rough up the public to get to "Siberia." Only time will tell.