Puerto Rico Police faces financial troubles
On July 5, EL VOCERO reported that police officers assigned as escorts for government officials were being paid excessively for overtime work. This happens as plans for furloughs and reductions of costs in healthcare are being proposed by the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. Police Superintendent Michelle Hernandez revealed last month that the agency would see a budget reduction of $6 million.
The newspaper reported that the sergeant in charge of Puerto Rico House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Mendez’s escort detail was paid around $25,000 in overtime between January and May. In that same time period, the lieutenant in charge Hernandez’s protection received $16,500 in overtime. Members of Thomas Rivera Schatz’ escort detail were paid $15,000 or more. This is on top of their monthly compensation ( which is around $1,000 and $1,500).
Just as the retirement system for public employees and teachers is at risk of running out of funds, police officers are protesting over a Senate bill that would essentially leave certain police officers with a reduction in retirement income. The project would mean that police officers will retire with 75% of their salary and may opt to retire when 50 years old. Though Governor Rosselló has promised to veto the bill, police officers still took to gathering in front of a monument commemorating police officers who’ve fallen while on duty, located to the south of the Capitolio.
The spokesman for the Dignified Retirement for Police, Carlos Rosado, said that “the purpose of our claim is to achieve a dignified retirement for the police in Puerto Rico.” He explained that the movement sought to see their cause move forward without resorting to personal attacks towards the Governor whom they believe “respects and values” police officers.