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The Wilton Manors Police Department is facing a crisis.

- Kim Swan, Editor


Crisis at WMPD: Officers Leave Due to Poor Pay and Benefits

By John Hayden

Wilton Manors budgets for 32 sworn officers on the police force. By early summer, up to a third of those positions could be open.

Chief Gary Blocker brought the crisis to the attention of the city commission and residents at the start of the City Commission meeting on April 23. 

“We currently have seven police officer vacancies and two more coming in the coming weeks and months,” Blocker said. 

The city went into a closed-door executive session to crunch numbers and discuss strategies. The result will likely be the third contract negotiation in only 19 months. Why are they leaving? Why are contracts seemingly always in a state of flux? The answer to these and most other questions is the same: money. 

OutSFL obtained six recent exit interviews from WMPD. Half cite pay and benefits as their primary reason for leaving. Combined, they represent more than 43 years of experience walking out the door. 

Perpetual Negotiation 

The city reopened a previous contract in autumn of 2022 to give a raise for the last year of that deal. The unofficial motivation was backlash from when the mayor and city commissioners gave themselves substantial raises. The ink was barely dry on that agreement before it was time for the city and union, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), to start work on a new three-year contract. That deal wasn’t finished until December 2023. 

Now, the work resumes well before anyone anticipated. Three contract negotiations in such a truncated time frame indicates the issue has never really been resolved. 

‘Enough’s Enough’ 

The city insists it’s always negotiated in good faith. In the most recent round of bargaining, they made it a point to get the department in the top half of pay in Broward County. But thus far it appears to be too little too late. 

“The [officers have] already lost faith in the city and the powers that be,” one person familiar with the situation told OutSFL. OutSFL is keeping their name anonymous so they felt they could speak freely. 

“What they want is to be made whole.”

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Weekly Events

TODAY: Karaoke Friday

La Mexicana Taco Bar is offering one free margarita for courage.

SAT: The Tatted Violinist

Come check out The Tatted Violinist live in action at The Well.

SUN: Cinco de Mayo

Join La Mexicana Taco Bar for an epic Cinco de Mayo celebration.

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Customer Service/Cashier -- Fort Lauderdale

Sawgrass Ford is hiring a Customer Service/Cashier who will need to greet and direct customers to the right department or advisor depending on their need, answer queries, and more. Full-time, $16-18/hr.

Overnight Security Officer -- Fort Lauderdale

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina is hiring an Overnight Security Officer to ensure the safety of guests and team members and the security of the hotel and property in the hotel's continuing effort to deliver outstanding guest service and financial profitability. Full-time, $18/hr.

Friday's Furry Friend

If you’re looking for a feline who will greet you at the door and tell you stories, then Sweetie is the gal for you. At 5-years-old, Sweetie previously lived in a quiet home where she was the only pet. Currently, she is residing in one of the community cat rooms at the shelter, and she and her feline roommate are doing ok together. Sweetie loves to sunbathe in the beams of sunlight that comes through the windows. This green-eyed beauty is ready to go home with you.

Photo of the Week

On April 26, Wilton Collective held a ribbon-cutting event.

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