Just days before Urban Beach Weekend, the Miami Beach police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, is accusing the Miami Beach Police Department of pressuring its officers during roll call briefings to meet a quota of 2,000 arrests during the weekend, citing political pressure to show that the department is cracking down on crime.
Security has been a big concern following last year's deadly police shootout on Collins Ave.
Sgt. Alex Bello, president of the FOP, tells NBC6 that he has heard about this "quota" from lieutenants, sergeants, and officers.
But Bobby Hernandez, a spokesman for the Miami Beach Police Department, denies the allegations.
"I sat through the briefings and I heard the same conversations that were going on and nobody mentioned anything about a quota. What was mentioned was the fact that we'd be enforcing the most minor infractions and that this might bring our numbers higher than the year we made a thousand arrests," he said.
One thousand arrests were made during Urban Beach Weekend in 2006, the most arrests to date.
New Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez also denied the accusations in an emailed response to the FOP. It reads in part, "This is an officer safety issue. My expectation for our officers over Memorial Day Weekend is to engage in proactive policing to curb criminal activity, and ensure public safety for Miami Beach residents, businesses and visitors alike."
This year, some new policing measures include machines that will read license plates on the MacArthur Causeway, DUI checkpoints, and more police watchtowers.
In the meantime, rapper and actor Luther Campbell, also known as Uncle Luke, is warning people to stay away from the unofficial event, where an estimated 250,000 African-Americans come to South Beach for a weekend of partying.
"I call it thugs paradise, that's what you are going to have," Campbell said.