PSL residents fighting for their safety

By Allison Bybee - bio | email

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - It was just this month the police chief, with instruction from the city administrator, was told he had to cut 27 positions.

That sparked an out-cry from the public saying they fear for their lives; hundreds attended the city council meeting to try and sway the council.

The council will soon finalize their budget that includes major cuts all across the city. They say they have to do this saying the money isn't their.

"Shocked, scared, betrayal, hurt," described Maiga Auguste, an officer for three and a half years. Auguste learned this month, she'll be unemployeed. "It's not just the police officers that are affected. It's our families, our brothers and sisters and our whole community."

Monday night, she, along with 200 people, attending the council meeting to attempt to stop the 27 cuts before they go in to effect in two and half weeks. "That is a decrease, you can see on the screen, by $10 million," said a councilmen.

First item on the agenda was budget cuts and the reduction of 145 employees. Many of those employees are police officers, like Joshua Mahler. He showed up to prove the point "that the public supports us, that the other officers support their brothers and sisters in blue".

He too sat in this crowd, and when it was time, these men and woman let the council hear their fears. "You have put buildings, roadways, landscaping above their safety," Mahler stated.

"When I call 911, I want a policeman at my house right now. I can't wait an hour," said Timothy Munson.

"Do we make a difference? Yes, we make a difference," said city employee Jack White.

But this crowd hopes their comments also make a difference. Everyone say they acknowledges the economy, they just hope jobs can somehow be spared. "Ideal, wishful thinking that all of us get saved," said Auguste.

It's not just police officers being laid off. Every department in the city made big cuts.

The city council did not vote on anything Monday night. They will make a final decision on September 27.

The city does has the option to save some employees if they want to dip into reserve money.

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