One South Florida, one community

Stedman Stahl, President of the Dade County PBA

The strength and resilience of the South Florida community never ceases to amaze me. In the past year alone, together we endured Hurricane Irma, a tragic shooting in Parkland, and most recently, another shooting in Jacksonville. And as families of the victims struggled to put their lives back together after each tragedy, we got to witness silent heroes rising out of the chaos.

In each instance, families, friends, colleagues, and neighbors came together in a way that only South Floridians can. People who barely knew each other dropped everything to help each other out, to pray, or to just do the simplest thing like make a tired mom a piping-hot cup of coffee – while also taking on the tough stuff, like rebuilding our neighborhoods.

In an exciting turn of events, I became President of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association early this year. In my new role, I get to see these silent heroes of law enforcement every day.

I’ve seen officers from different municipalities join forces to paint the home of a U.S. Army veterans, while other officers did the same at Sweetwater Elementary School. I also saw dozens of officers join with 98 underprivileged children at Target during “Shop with a Cop” last Christmas, where each kid got a $100 gift card – and then tore through the store with them on a shopping spree.

Just this month, our Police Communications Bureau personnel came to us with 1,100 purple beanies they persoanlly hand-knit, with a request to help deliver them to the National Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome, in order to help educate new mothers on the dangers of this serious issue.

Members of Police Communications Bureau and PBA staff join forces to distribute hand-knit beanies to the National Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome.

On a lighter note, I also stood by – while holding back my laughter – as some of our officers kicked in to help a member of their community playfully stage a bogus traffic stop, all part of a master plan to help him propose to his wife-to-be. She said “yes,” by the way!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As amazing stories like these reveal themselves almost daily, I am continually reminded how proud I am to be in law enforcement – and equally as proud to be a citizen of our South Florida community.

When we watch the news these days, it’s so easy to forget that our men and women in uniform – who send their kids to the same schools as our kids, go to the same doctors, shop in the same malls, go to the same houses of worship, and brave the same Miami traffic – are also every-day neighbors in our own communities.

As we enter this final quarter of our first full year together, it is my hope that South Florida law enforcement and our Executive Board here at the Dade County Police Benevolent Association continue to lead the way to a new definition of policing – one that truly serves as a model for the rest of our nation to follow. In the process, by ensuring we’re all on the same team and fighting for the same community, we will pave the way for even more silent heroes.

Please follow the Dade County PBA on Facebook and Instagram, and let’s continue to build a safe and productive community together. Also visit us at www.dcpba.org.


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