Police

Silver Bluff Roadblocks' Police Detail Has Cost Taxpayers $385,000 — and Counting

A Miami Police Department car is stationed at the corner of SW 17th Avenue and SW 23rd Street in Miami's Silver Bluff neighborhood, around the clock.
A Miami Police Department car is stationed at the corner of SW 17th Avenue and SW 23rd Street in Miami's Silver Bluff neighborhood, around the clock. Photo by Joshua Ceballos
How much do cops get paid to sit in their cars?

In Miami's Silver Bluff neighborhood, officers from the Miami Police Department (MPD) are paid from $28 to $42 an hour in overtime to monitor four roadblocks — an endeavor that has cost Miami taxpayers approximately $1,153 per day, according to a public-records request recently completed by the City of Miami.

Between March 1, 2021, when the roadblocks were first installed, and January 28, 2022, when New Times filed the public records request, the City of Miami has paid MPD officers $385,428.22 to work the "Silver Bluff Barricade Detail."

"It's ridiculous the amount of overtime we're paying officers to just sit in their cars," Silver Bluff resident Dorielys Guerra tells New Times. "I've seen them asleep in their vehicles. Is that gonna be a deterrent for crime?"

Today marks one year since the City of Miami placed roadblocks at five intersections to prevent drivers stuck in traffic on U.S. 1 and Coral Way from cutting through Silver Bluff's residential streets. The only problem is that traffic control is overseen by Miami-Dade County, and city officials bypassed county protocols and installed the concrete barricades on March 1, 2021, anyway, claiming they were "temporary."

Crews from the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works removed one of the five concrete barricades four days later, but the remaining four roadblocks were swapped for plastic barriers that have been guarded by an MPD detail ever since. One year later, the roadblocks remain in place while the county and city face off in Miami-Dade circuit court.  
click to enlarge The locations of the remaining four roadblocks, each of which is assigned a 24-hour police detail - SCREENSHOT VIA GOOGLE MAPS
The locations of the remaining four roadblocks, each of which is assigned a 24-hour police detail
Screenshot via Google Maps
Some residents love the roadblocks. Others see them as a nuisance and a waste of money.

"The amount of traffic and congestion has not lessened at all, and they're an incredible inconvenience," Guerra says. "We had to call fire-rescue for my 82-year-old father whose pacemaker stopped working, and they arrived three minutes later because they had to find a way into my neighborhood around the roadblocks."

According to MPD overtime reports obtained by New Times, three patrol officers are assigned to the "Silver Bluff Barricade Detail" each day. Each officer normally works an eight-hour shift, though some have opted for 10- and even 16-hour shifts. Officers accrue overtime pay at different rates — roughly $28 to $42 an hour on average. Overtime is accrued in addition to an officer's salary. Miami taxpayers foot the bill.

A jury trial in the circuit court case that pits two local governments against one another is slated for August.
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos