The move is a direct response to the string of deadly police shootings of black men in the inner city in 2010 and 2011. More than half of the officers involved were assigned to tactical units, which were routinely criticized for being too aggressive. Orosa shrunk the bulk of the teams in favor of more community policing.
“I don’t want to put officers in a position where they are surprising anyone,” Orosa told The Miami Herald. “I want them to be proactive. I want them on the street.”
The department, for example, now has eight officers and a sergeant assigned to the Liberty Square public housing project. There’s a beat officer in Belle Meade, a small community in Miami’s Upper Eastside. Orosa plans to add beat officers to the Brickell neighborhood next, he said.
The positions supplement the neighborhood resource officers many communities already have.
Community policing is hardly a new concept. The model, which has been around since the ‘70s, entails building community partnerships, strengthening communication between the police department and residents, and taking a proactive approach to reducing crime.
Read the rest of Kathleen McGrory’s article at The Miami Herald.