Sgt. Joe Bermudez began a law enforcement career 20 years ago in the Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District.
On Mar. 28, he returned to a Hammocks District Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, visiting again what he described as “my old haunts” to help others learn how to help prevent crimes he once investigated.
Recalling his early service in West Kendall, Sgt. Bermudez added, “I grew up as a kid in the McMillan Park area, lived in Winston Park then, and now in Country Walk.
“Today, my job is pretty much a one-man crime prevention unit,” he said, describing his community awareness work throughout Miami- Dade County, including driving the department’s mobile information bus, known as the CPDV (Crime Prevention Display Vehicle).
CAC members toured its exhibits that vary from security locks to exposing “crack” in walk-through displays that provide current details on drug awareness, lighting and alarm systems for the home. Scores of take-home pamphlets advise how to prevent common neighborhood crimes.
“People need to know more about our community programs,” he told the CAC group. “We will even go door-to-door in neighborhoods, working individually with homeowners to advise on security and safety factors in the home.”
That little-known program is called the Residential Security Survey and will bring police to neighborhoods with repeating crimes to inspect individual homes and to advise security measures, he explained.
Sgt. Bermudez viewed “ID theft” as the “hottest topic” of interest to most people who attend his community awareness programs that are presented to schools, church and civic organizations and homeowner associations.
In addition, the veteran sergeant promoted volunteer attendance at the 2012 Citizen’s Police Academy, a 13-week session for citizen participation conducted at the department’s training headquarters in Doral on Wednesday nights for three-hour meetings starting at 6:30 p.m.
Chair James Blough of the Hammocks CAC was one of several who raised their hands when Sgt. Bermudez asked how many already had taken the course.
In addition to learning police organization, criminal law, enforcement profiling and other investigation techniques, Academy members also visit a firing range to try their hand at a variety of commonly used firearms, he said.
“We formerly held two sessions yearly, but budget cutbacks have temporarily reduced us to just one a year,” he explained. The 2012 program is limited to the first 35 residents who apply for special citizen training.
Academy information is available by calling 305-471-1716. Organizations interested in booking the CPDV for a visit can contact Sgt. Bermudez at 305-471-1745, or by email at JBermudez@mdpd.com.