Miami New Times EXPOSES Secret County Budget Expenditures

Miami New Times:

Miami-Dade County Hid Details of $450,000 Grant for Police Tech and Supplies

By Jerry Iannelli

The Miami-Dade County Commission must sign off on any grants or funding requests county police ask for. But at today's commission meeting, elected officials will be asked to retroactively approve a $450,000 Department of Justice grant that MDPD oddly already applied for.

Even more mysterious, someone at the county level hid the details of the grant from the public, claiming the money was going to be used for "sensitive" purposes that needed to be kept quiet for "security reasons." MDPD only disclosed what the money would pay for — including surveillance gear like automatic license-plate readers, "covert recorders," solar cameras, handheld ID readers, and GPS tracking devices, as well as a slew of tactical gear and ammunition — after New Times asked about the application.

Had New Times not filed a request to find out what was in the grant application, it's likely the county would have voted on the measure without disclosing to the public what it was voting on. That's concerning because much of the technology the grant will pay for — like license-plate readers and GPS trackers — remains controversial among criminal-justice reform and civil-liberties advocates.

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