I am humbled and honored to return as Chief of Police for Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. As your new chief, I would like to share my philosophy, shaped through my years in law enforcement and covering a wide array of responsibilities, which will serve as the foundation and blueprint to a more professional, efficient, unified and prepared police department.
It is understood that we are entrusted with maintaining a safe learning environment for our students, staff, visitors, and to that end, there are key areas that will serve as cornerstones to our success.
These are: being “Committed To Excellence Through Service,” re-establishing community oriented policing, ensuring the Enhancement of Esprit De Corps, utilizing interagency relationships, carrying out the Trident Approach and Readiness Emergency Management in Schools (REMS).
The following is a brief description of this philosophy:
“Committed To Excellence Through Service,” will offer a sensitive, systematic police service throughout the District to include a cross functional team approach inclusive of students, employees, parents and community partners. An emphasis will be placed on augmenting and supporting school operations and the educational mission, creating benchmarks for effectiveness and monitoring and enhancing existing and future services through creativity and innovation.
This is the essence of strategic planning and we will clarify the mission, vision, goals and objectives to be carried out. This also includes utilizing the “Blue Courage” and “Thought Patterns For High Performers” programs, which focus on research regarding human effectiveness, positive psychology, leadership development and neuroscience. This is about a personal and cultural transformation through the institutionalization of the heart-set, mind-set, skill-set and tool-set of our police officers and civilian personnel. More importantly, it involves the ability to sustainably change the way they think, the ability to eliminate the stress of change, and the ability to self-regulate at higher levels of excellence.
Community Oriented Policing will provide the basis for student/staff interaction. Among the goals are to reestablish the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program, the addition of part-time hourly police officers to augment and support the educational mission and the prioritization of services so they can better support the District. The department will continue to be a principle stakeholder in the superintendent’s Joint Round table on Youth Safety and we will search for and apply for grants that will assist us in increasing staffing and technology whenever possible.
Enhancement of Esprit De Corps is vital if we are to flourish as an organization. Enthusiastic input from all personnel will be welcomed and teamwork will be expected. The value of each team member will be respected and the bringing forward of new, well-thought out ideas, regarding prevention and intervention strategies, will be encouraged. This will also be fostered by establishing a foundation to assist with community projects, student scholarships and departmental resources.
We will work with several law enforcement organizations and the District to have collaborative events that will bring us together as members of the school police family. Participating with mentor programs to counsel, coach and guide our youth will be important as will providing training and mentoring for our employees to aid in career development and succession planning.
Inter-agency relationships will be strengthened through an organizational culture that establishes relationships with local, state and federal agencies. Active and meaningful participation in law enforcement organizations, such as the Miami-Dade Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) will take place, as well as with school-based law enforcement organizations, such as the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials (NASSLEO), National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Justice and Youth Safety Committee.
Trident Approach will prioritize safety and security concerns into short-term and long-term objectives, while also assessing future facility requirements based on the forecasted needs of the police department and District. The approach will first focus on relatively inexpensive measures that have the potential to immediately maximize productivity and service, while also looking toward the future by considering new approaches, technology and the redirection of resources. This also includes attaining and maintaining an accredited law enforcement agency.
Readiness Emergency Management in Schools (REMS) is supported by the United States Department of Education and provides guidance for critical incident response and management for the District. In addition to model policies already being utilized, future plans call for the reestablishment of part-time hourly civilian personnel for the purpose of conducting preparedness and awareness training at school sites. Also, the utilization of the Miami-Dade Chiefs Association and the Superintendent’s Joint Round table on Youth Safety will be used to collaborate on issues of mutual concern, such as lock-down procedures, threat assessments, and response protocols.
These groups will be utilized as information conduits in an effort to share information efficiently and in a timely manner. The use of technology related to access control, alert systems and surveillance equipment will continue to play an important role.
Together, we will provide our stakeholders with a police department that is both responsive to their needs and capable of adapting to unexpected challenges that may come our way. Through our good work, we will continue to build on our past successes, and become the premier example of school-based policing nationally and eventually, internationally. We will accomplish this together, professionally, always understanding we must serve as role models to the students and be “Committed To Excellence Through Service” at all times.