Our number one priority should be the safety of our children and that starts by getting our own police force. As a new parent, I feel nothing but concern for the well-being of the children who live in Parkland. I truly understand why growing up, my mother only allowed us to play within a “three house radius” of our home.
In light of everything that happened in this city, Parkland needs its own police force. Having a force that is dedicated to Parkland will increase the average response time per call and add a layer of protection in our schools and neighborhoods that will surpass what BSO can provide.
BSO has amazing agents but they cannot provide us with the community police we need. BSO has 2,800 personnel and service 14 different cities. They are just too big.
Creating a Parkland police force will not only ensure the continued safety of our community by having officers who are invested in our city but will also save us a substantial amount of money.
We currently spend $10.5M on BSO annually with increases of $300-$400K each year. This cost is not sustainable and we are at a tipping point. Eventually taxes will have to increase or services the city provides will be reduced.
A recent CPSM study determined that we can save $3 million dollars a year if we switch to having our own force. I have spoken with our city manager and city commissioners from other cities in Broward and they agree.
If we start to prepare now and budget for the implementation costs, a Parkland police force could be established in 4-5 years.
It's also important that our officers live within our community and make every effort to meet with the residents. This brings true meaning to Community Oriented Policing (COP).
When a focus group was conducted by CPSM of Parkland residents, they expressed the desire to have officers live and work here in Parkland.
One way we can achieve this is through a housing grant for officers that reside in our community and serve on our force. The grant will have baked in restrictions on usage designed to encourage officers to stay in Parkland. The goal is to get every officer on our force to live here and be invested in our community.
We need to establish serious accountability and the expectation that officers who serve Parkland will be held to a higher standard.
A community accountability board should oversee every complaint made and should have the power to take action against officers that over step. That power should include the ability to fire an officer.
Also, the police force should enact the 8 Can’t Wait common sense policing policies.
There are active shooter drills in our schools. But we need more accountability.
The commission should e able to tour each of our schools once in the fall and once in the spring during these drills to make sure every camera is operational, SRO are at their posts, fences are secure, every door locks, there is only one point of entry and the silent alarms are working.
It's also important that we support the school board’s efforts to enact other measures that protect our kids’ safety.
I love the fact that we have limited street lights in Parkland and definitely don’t want to lose the ability to see the stars at night. But being a parent definitely makes me see things a little differently. I want to know how the people of Parkland feel. There may be a solution of extending street lights, but restricting usage to peak hours.