Friday, December 28, 2012

Chief Daniels And Neighborhood Watch

Last night, North Bay Village police chief Daniels held his first community meeting since taking the job over two years ago.   The subject was the possible (re) establishment of a neighborhood crime watch program.  The presentation was disjointed, riddled with errors and condescensionsAnd I for one don't believe that Daniels is remotely interested in working with the community.  Nothing in his tenure shows that.  

Let's start with the meeting itself.  It was called after the lack of response to a brazen home invasion two weeks ago.  In two incidents on the same night, a resident on S. Treasure Drive reported a man running through her yard with a gun at 2 AMThe police were unable to find the runner but a few hours later, a homeowner on Adventure reported a break in through a locked window and a stolen car.   

Several Adventure residents requested a meeting last Wednesday with the Chief to discuss specifics about the robbery.  The meeting was held but the Chief was not there, delegating the meeting to subordinates.  Among other outcomes, the Chief promised to circulate a flier to the Treasure Island houses warning about the break in and soliciting information.   The Chief reiterated that promise to me in person last Thursday.  And then didn't do it.  Instead, three cop cars parked on North Treasure Drive and Hispanola for about an hour and handed out fliers randomly to passing motorists.   

The materials last night consisted of a cribbed Power Point from Neighborhood Watch Miami.   The chief had obviously not even read it.  (News flash:  Neighborhood Watch has been around 40 years, not 30.  source:  the materials handed out.) and spent most of the time riffing.  There was no organized presentation, no clear steps to the process, just some general advice about locks.  And for those of you thinking about following the Chief's advice to get a double cylinder lock, they do help reduce break-ins but make sure there's never a fire in your house because, you know, looking for the key in smoke and flames is hard.  That's why double cylinder locks are against code in many states.   But I'm sure you'll be fine.

The Chief also explained that vehicle burglaries are because people don't lock their cars.  Seriously?  People leave their cars unlocked?  Must be because the chief said in 99.9% of vehicle thefts, that was the case.  I guess the .01% was the car stolen on Adventure last Monday where the house was invaded and the keys taken.  Remember?

This was typical.  Engaging the community is apparently the lowest priority in the PD.   Last night, I asked the chief if he was committing to the crime watch after he had several times qualified by saying "if the community wants".   Finally he said he was committed.  

 Know what else the chief is committed to?  The  PAL, which he suspended without notice two years ago and has yet to reinstate, in spite of it being funded and there being community support for the program.   Daniels has said many times that he is committed to the PAL but has never acted on it.  So what does "committed" mean?

I am afraid the crime watch will be the same rhetorical commitment.  There is community support.  I haven't seen that many people since the strip club hearings.  Last night would have been a great time to start the Neighborhood Watch, not make a vague promise about a "to be scheduled" meeting with Miami Dade's Neighborhood Watch's team.   

I mention that I don't see the police chief having community involvement as a priority.   Money tells us what matters to the person spending it and so far, the chief has spent well over $300,000 pursuing a case against an officer fired by the PD.   The final result of that effort was full reinstatement when the arbitrator found that none of the police testimony was credible.   None of it.  

The chief is pursuing another case against a fired officer that is nothing more than a transparent attempt to punish union activity.  Virtually no one expects the city to prevail and that is going to wind up costing us about the same or more.  All in two years on the job.  If he was a manager at any corporation in America and spent 50% of his operating budget on two employees, he would no longer be a manager.  

The chief talked about the budget issues involved in a high resolution camera to track license plates on Treasure Island, about a $100,000.  This could have been funded years ago by the Law Enforcement Trust Fund but that hasn't happened.  

Here's the something the Law Enforcement Trust Fund laid out for.  Last year, the Chief took $5,000 from it to attend something called the "Seven Isles Police Chief's Dinner" which was sponsored by the police chief in Bal Harbour.  A nice dinner I'd imagine.  You may have followed how that use of the LETF money in Bal Harbour has gone.  

Let's get back to the money spent on investigating our own police officers.  The only outcome of what is sure to exceed $500,000 has been to establish that the arbitrator doesn't trust our officers testimony. We had to lay off two good cops to pay for this arbitration.   Yet the legal bills are mounting up for the second case, also bound to lose, while the cops we've known for years are kept away from the community.   

There is no PAL, our emergency community communications, no outreach to elderly and disabled, and no Neighborhood Watch programs.  Instead, the money is spent irresponsibly for routine management issues elevated to court battles.  The police didn't even distribute a simple flier while our police station is hidden from view and our police cars are kept in a derelict lot in full public view..   

North Bay Village has seen rocky times but through it all, the one thing we could count on were cops who engaged with the community.  That's no longer true.  
Maybe Daniels will be forced to create a Neighborhood Watch.  Maybe he'll stop the politicking and start the managing.  Maybe he'll put the police back in the community.  But I'm not betting on it.  

Kevin Vericker
December 28, 2012     


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Local Crime

CRIME INCIDENT: There was a brazen break in on Sunday night/Monday morning. As I understand it, someone entered a house on Adventure where the occupants were sleeping, stole a purse containing car keys, and drove off in the car. The robbery was reported in the morning. There was also a police call around 2 AM that a man had been seen running through the yards on S. Treasure and that he was carrying a gun. The police responded but did not find him.

Last night, the police and the mayor met with a group of residents to discuss the situation. The investigation is ongoing but in the meantime, the police are hand delivering a flier today with a description of the break in. The flier will be distributed door to door to the single family homes and available at the apartments.  

A little known service is that the police will on your request do a security review of your home. You can call them at 305 758-2626 or email them through the website to request the service.

It's scary to know that leaving your windows open while you're in the house can be a security risk but it is.

There is also increased police presence at Treasure Island Elementary School. You may have noticed the police units stationed in front of and behind the school. Obviously this is in response to the horror in Connecticut.

No parent in the world can drop their kids off at school without thinking it could happen here and the sad truth is that it can. But the police and the school are working to make it safer. Again, you should have the number of the PD in your speed dial, 305 758-2626, and if you're concerned, call the PD and talk with them about their plans and your suggestions.  We're all in this

Kevin Vericker 
December 20, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December on the Agenda

This email came today from Richard Chervony.   It covers the upcoming legislative agenda for December:

On 12/6/2012 8:36 AM, richard chervony wrote:
After a very quiet November with no Commission Meetings, except for the swearing in ceremony we now have a packed December, right before the Holidays.
Tuesday, December 11th @ 7:30 PM
1700 Kennedy Causeway, #132
Some highlights of items to be discussed at this meeting are (full Agenda can be found at WWW.NBVILLAGE.COM
     - Election of Vice Mayor
    - Increasing the Scope of the Youth Service Board to Youth and Education Service Board
    - Improvements to Dr. Paul Vogel Park
    - Planning and Design of the Baywalk Plaza - Phase I
    - Creation of the Foreclosure Registry
    - Choosing of a Landscaping Company
     - Discussion and possible action on the RFQ (Rquest for Qualification) for Legal Services
    - Discussion and possible action to choose our External Auditing Service
    - Discussion and possible action with Florida Dept of Transportation (FDOT) Local Funding Agreement
    - Discussion and possible action in acquiring open space land for a future park
Saturday, December 15th @ 2:30 PM
Winter Wonderlan Event
Galleon Street, Treasure Isle
We are closing down the street and letting our residents, especially the little ones frolic and enjoy our Winter Wonderland.
Tuesday, December 18th @ 7:30 PM
1700 Kennedy Causeway, #132
Some highlights of items to be discussed at this meeting are (full Agenda can be found at WWW.NBVILLAGE.COM)
      - Request to operate a Subway at the Public Storage Building on the Causeway
     - Request to operate a boat, jet ski, kayak rental business at Commercial Marina at 7904 West Drive.  
Looking forward to seeing you at some or all of these events.

Richard Chervony
North Bay Island Commissioner