News and Commentary

Angered By Police Chief Kneeling, City’s Entire SWAT Team Resigns From SWAT Duties
A SWAT rescue police truck.
Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Angered by the police chief of their Florida city kneeling with protesters, the entire SWAT team of Hallandale Beach resigned from the SWAT team. The ten members, including eight officers and two sergeants, who sent their resignations in a memo that listed their grievances to City of Hallandale Beach Police Chief Sonia Quinones, stated they would remain on the police force but not the SWAT team.

The memo stated “The risk of carrying out our duties in this capacity is no longer acceptable to us and our families. The anguish and stress of knowing that what we may be lawfully called upon to do in today’s political climate combined with the team’s current situation and several recent local events, leaves us in a position that is untenable,” as The Miami Herald reported.

The Herald reported that the memo continued:

The team is minimally equipped, under trained and often times restrained by the politicization of our tactics to the extent of placing the safety of dogs over the safety of the team members. Regardless, the team has continued to operate under these conditions with a growing sense of hesitancy. This hesitancy creates officer safety issues that cannot be ignored or overlooked.

The City Administration has shown a clear disdain for our agency and the team with their lack of willingness to provide adequate budgets to address the above mentioned equipment and training concerns. Human resources recently attempted (under the guise of membership in the pension board) to thwart Officer DiStefano’s attempt to collect a disability pension for a debilitating injury suffered during an execution of his duties as a member of this team.

The memo continued, “The City Commission has openly disrespected officers individually, during campaigns and on the dais,” claiming that Vice-Mayor Sabrina Javellana had actively protested against them and compared them to the Minneapolis Police Department.

The memo concluded, “Until these conditions and sentiments are rectified and addressed, we cannot safely, effectively and in good faith carry out duties in this capacity without putting ourselves and our families at this needless increased level of risk,” CNN reported.

Hallandale Beach City Manager Greg Chavarria issued a statement saying, “The City of Hallandale Beach continues to have special weapons and tactics coverage through regional mutual aid, which the City has used for SWAT operations in the past. While the voluntary resignation of our officers from this assignment is unfortunate, our residents should be assured it has not had any impact on our commitment to protecting their safety. Also, while these officers have resigned from the SWAT Team, they have not resigned from the Department.”

Chavarria added, “They specifically mention their displeasure with the Chief joining members of our community in taking a knee against racism, hatred, and intolerance earlier this week. They have incorrectly stated the gesture was in support of an elected official. This is simply not true.”

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