“We are having National Night Out and the people can come get their kids finger printed and police and citizens will be walking Crime Watch areas.” said Deputy Chief of Police, Paul Miller.
Tyrone Gywen, 3, and his grandmother, Mary Peak, were walking by and saw the police command vehicle and stopped by to see what it was offering. She said she views the police in a positive way.
“With my grandbaby; he like to run around and he is real friendly, and if something ever happens it will be easy for the police to find him. I think this is very important and that all people should get their kids fingerprinted”
National Night Out is a national crime prevention event that over 15,000 communities in America participate in. Its goal is to heighten awareness of drug and crime prevention in the community, to get citizens to join anticrime programs and to build neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
The City of Miami Gardens Police Department wanted to strengthen police community partnerships so it started in November of 2009, the Community Enrichment Team. This is a group of handpicked officers, by the Chief of Police Matthew Boyd and Deputy Chief of police Paul Miller, who exhibited outstanding standing leadership and communication skills and who most importantly had charismatic personalities.
“All of the officers have great personalities… when you speak to one it’s like you’re speaking to them all.” said Officer Alex Judon.
In the Scott Lake area, Officer Luwani James and Detective Dillon of robbery homicide were walking the neighborhood informing people of the Crime Watch group for the area. Accompanying them were Mrs. and Mr. Alexander Flowers, the husband and wife team who are the president of the Scott Lake area Crime Watch team.
“Most people were home and they very happy to see us. Coincidently, we didn’t have any complaints about things in the neighborhood.” said Dillon.
The group walked to a total of 20 houses giving information to residents about the Crime Watch meeting, the Explorers club and other community events.
Officer James said that the Community Enrichment Team is not a patrol unit, but they get to know and build relationships with the people in the community.
“We all understand the partnership that we endeavor to build with the community will only help in our quest of building a safer community for the citizens of Miami Gardens.” said Officer Judon who is a part of CET.
In the Pentab area it was evident of what Officer James said. The crime watch member and the presiding officers were out greeting residents and getting the word out. Detective Heather Kiddler told of how the crime watch group could benefit the area.
“This empowers us to do our job… If you see suspicious behavior and report it, I then can go out and patrol the area for people who fit the description.” said Detective Kiddler.
Sgt. Joseph Nargiso told of times where anonymous tips have led to the catching of criminals who have committed serious crimes.
“We are glad that people want to participate in the crime watch groups… It gives us a chance to show them on a personal level that we are here to protect them, not to harass them.” said Officer James.