Miami Gardens, FL – After hundreds of Miami-Dade police officers planned to skip working the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets football game on Sunday, October 22, the Miami-Dade Police Department Director issued a mandate that all officers had to work the game.
The Miami-Dade officers were planning a protest of their own, in response to several Dolphins’ players kneeling for the National Anthem, according to WSVN.
A total of 380 officers are needed for each Dolphins game, and they were hundreds of officers short.
Often security details such as this one are offered to officers on a first-come, first-serve basis, and officers like to work them because of the extra money they make.
Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President John Rivera said, “We have the right to work a voluntary job or not, and so we support those officers that were OK with working it, as well as we were supporting the officers that didn’t want to work it for whatever reason.”
In response to lack of officers volunteering to sign up to work the games, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said that he had no choice but to mandate on-duty officers to work the game.
“I am now faced with a critical dilemma as the staffing shortages place our community and fellow officers at risk. The worst scenario we can experience is a successful terrorist attack or active shooter scenario due to a vulnerability of security.”
Perez said, “I made the decision to mandate officers to work the game under operational necessity.”
In response, Rivera said, “I think that the director’s words and memo was on point. We certainly appreciate it. We had a conversation, and he expressed his concerns and we expressed ours.”
What’s less clear is how the staffing for events is being funded.
The controversy continues amid increasing public outrage over NFL players kneeling in protest when the National Anthem is played.
The protest against police brutality and racial injustice was started during preseason, 2016, by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, and the Dolphins players were quick to start kneeling.
Many Dolphins players now remain in the tunnel instead of kneeling on the sidelines when the National Anthem was sang.