Community Relations Board urges community policing to address opioid crisis
MIAMI – The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board (CRB) is urging police departments in Miami-Dade County to utilize community policing strategies while addressing the dramatic increase in the illegal sale and use of opioids.
“The CRB supports a strong law enforcement response to the rise in the sale and use of these dangerous substances. However, as our community seeks to respond to the rash of overdoses resulting from the mixture of heroin with fentanyl and other drugs, we also need to remain vigilant to the impacts on residents of the underserved communities where these drug sales appear most evident,” CRB Chairman Edward Shohat wrote in a Dec. 19 letter to the Miami-Dade Police Department’s director. A similar letter was sent to police chiefs at all of the municipal departments in the county as well as the Miami-Dade Schools Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The letter asks police to implement proactive strategies to engage residents as partners.
“We have learned from prior interactions with citizens who feel they or their communities have been unfairly targeted and terrorized by police raids, that negative impacts can be significantly reduced and cooperation enhanced by focused outreach activities such as explaining to people why the police operations are being conducted; meeting with community leaders and community organizations to enlist their support; and reaching out to people who live and work in close proximity to the operations to reduce fear, engender cooperation and build positive relationships,” the letter states.
The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board was created by the Board of County Commissioners in June 1963 to build bridges of mutual cooperation, understanding and respect among Miami-Dade County’s diverse populations.