What happens at a community meeting when the speaker fails to show?
“You improvise,” chuckled chair James Blough, now in his third year arranging programs for Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).
Like his counterpart, Barry White who chairs the Kendall District CAC, both often call upon police officers, attending county officials or even community activists in the audience to pinch-hit when the night’s guest speaker is missing.
That’s precisely what Blough did on Mar. 26 for members and guests of the Hammocks CAC, the organization of citizens in Miami-
Dade Police districts throughout the county to learn more about police affairs while supporting department efforts to reduce crime.
Instead of a program on illegal prescription drugs, guests and Hammocks police officials treated the CAC audience in four impromptu mini-programs, each updating Kendall projects and county services.
“The Kendall Corridor study is now in its planning stages before presentation of a planning document for the Kendall Drive area,” reported Ingrid Gonzalez, aide to Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan C. Zapata who organized a special charrette on Mar. 1 for citizen suggestions.
“A primary concern is having a place to hold community meetings,” she said, noting that the commissioner’s office, recently opened at 8785 SW 165 Ave., is available for small group meetings in its conference room, as well as gatherings in an adjacent outside area.
Dallas Manuel, aide to Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss, reported progress on a special event that will honor a Richmond Heights pioneer couple, Olivia and Clarence Edwards, for their services that helped establish the community in the early 1900s.
Manuel also noted that discussion of potential incorporation of two southwest areas in the commissioner’s district had gotten underway in South Dade, utilizing new facilities for community meetings in the South Dade Cultural Center, a project Moss was instrumental in its development and completion.
“Crimes for the year-to-date (2014 over 2013) in Hammocks District were slightly up in three categories: aggravated assault, theft and commercial burglaries,” reported Capt. Miguel Hernandez.
He explained assault figures can include two or more individual charges, accounting for higher than average numbers.
The good news is that crime is down in all other categories for the year, including auto thefts and vehicle burglaries, he added.
The session concluded with Neighborhood Resources Officer Laurel Wade describing a special police fund that aids officers in need after serious incidents that may have incapacitated them temporarily or semi-permanently. In one case, the fund helped an officer with a shattered leg survive during a lengthy recuperation.
Officers on the force contribute $3 out of each pay period toward the special fund helping pay vital out-of-pocket expenses during out-of-service periods, not otherwise covered by police insurance. Contributions to the effort are accepted by contacting the Hammocks Police Station at 305-383-6800.
The Hammocks CAC membership is open to any resident with an interest in police affairs. It next meets at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Apr. 30, at the District Station, 10000 SW 142 Ave.