MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Local 6 sister station WPLG-TV in Miami has obtained several pictures of city of Miami Beach police dispatch supervisors allegedly sleeping on the job.
The person who sent the pictures to the TV station claims they were taken over several days last November.
A current employee, who asked not to be identified, said this is not unusual and it's an ongoing issue in the Public Safety Communications Unit.
More than one source told WPLG that an acting communications manager was sent similar pictures but claims little was done.
"This issue needs to be fixed and exposed," one source said.
WPLG also talked to a retired Miami Beach dispatcher who worked in the center for 25 years.
"It is very unacceptable. You never know when something is going to go down. This job can go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds. You need to be awake and alert. Someone could miss a call for assistance," the retired dispatcher told reporter Jeff Weinsier.
The Public Safety Communications Unit of the Miami Beach Police Department dispatches for the police and fire departments, and handles 170,000 incidents a year.
Sources said staffing is a huge problem and forced overtime is the norm.
"I experienced forced overtime," said the retired dispatcher. "They would come up to you and say, 'You are staying.'"
Dispatchers who talked to WPLG said if they refused the overtime, they would be given a written reprimand.
Miami Police Chief Ray Martinez said he couldn't comment because he had never seen the specific pictures sent to the station.
"Unless the department is provided with the pictures and more information, the department will not be commenting on this issue," said Sgt. Bobby Hernandez, in an email to WPLG.
Hernandez said the department has counseled employees in the past for resting in an unauthorized area.
Experts said the conduct of the dispatchers could put police officers, firefighters and the public in danger.
WPLG has learned the department may be installing cameras in the dispatch center, now aimed at those on-duty to monitor their actions. Seven more dispatchers will soon be hired for the dispatch center to relieve the forced overtime.
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