Miami Police Department
Lawenforcement is among the key functions of any government across theworld. This function is carried out through different law enforcementagencies, including the police. The has beenin existence for many years, and its mandate is to maintain law andorder in the City of Miami. It has been in existence since 1896, whenthe city was incorporated (, 2017). However,the department continued its operations without a formal trainingunit until 1921, when it started considering the academicqualification of recruits and giving them training before they couldbe deployed to different sections of the jurisdiction. Over theyears, the department has grown in terms of the number of officersand resources, which has been influenced by the increase in thepopulation size of the city. This paper will provide a discussionabout the .
MiamiPolice Department, which is also known as the City of Miami Police isthe senior most law enforcement units in southeastern Florida. It islocated in the city of Miami. The jurisdiction covered by thisdepartment lies within the boundaries of the City of Miami, but ithas established some agreements with neighboring police units wherethey provide mutual aid (MPD, 2017). However, the department shouldbe distinguished from Miami-Dade that is situated within the samejurisdiction. The latter is distinguished from the Miami PoliceDepartment by their blue-and-white patrol vans and uniform.
Thespecific location and jurisdiction covered by the department isdivided into three districts. These districts have different numbersof neighborhoods. The first one is North District, which has threeneighborhoods, which include Little Haiti, Liberty City, and UpperEastside (MPD, 2017). The second one is Central District, which hasfour neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include Little Havana,Coconut Grove, Flagami, and Coral Way.
Demographicsof the Jurisdiction and Department
TheMiami Department of Police covers a vast area that measures about55.27 square miles (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). This jurisdiction hasa total population of about 417,650 people (U.S. Census Bureau,2016). Residents who are under 18 years make up about 18.4 % of thetotal population. Those who are above 65 years are about 16 % of thejurisdiction’s population. In addition, about 50.2 % of theresident of the jurisdiction that is under the Miami Department ofpolice are female, which indicates that the gender distribution ofthe population is fair.
Raceis among the key determinants of the security trends. Thejurisdiction is a multiracial area, but the Hispanic residents formthe highest percentage. According to U.S. Census Bureau (2016) 11.9 %of the population is comprised of the whites, 19.2 % AfricanAmericans. About 0.3 % of the population are American Indians, onepercent the Asians, and 2.7 % more than one racial (U.S. CensusBureau, 2016). Approximately 34.4 % of the population is made ofpeople with a Latino origin. African American and Hispanic are thetwo leading groups that are associated with high crime rates (U.S.Census Bureau, 2016). The demographic data show that the two groupshave the highest population, which is an indication of securitychallenge in the jurisdiction.
Thedata also show that the jurisdiction managed by Miami Department ofpolice has about 183,994 house units, where close to 85 % of theresidents share houses with other relatives (U.S. Census Bureau,2016). Its only 31 % of the houses are owner-occupied, which is anindication of the large population of residents who live in the areaas tenants. Languages, other than English, are spoken in 85 % of thehomes (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016).
Educationand health are key indicators of the overall quality of life andcrime rates in a given area. A high level of educational attainmentis associated with low crime rates. In the case of the Miami Cityarea that is under the respective department of police, more than73.2 % of the residents aged above 25 years have at least a highschool certificate (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). About 25 % of thesepeople have a bachelor’s degree, which is lower than the nationalpercentage of 30 % of citizens within the same age group (Pena,2012).
Securitytrends are also influenced by economic development and poverty levelsin a given jurisdiction. Most of the people (61.9 %) of the residentsare in the civilian labor force (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). The termcivilian labor force is used by the Bureau of Statistics to refer tocitizens who are neither institutionalized nor serve in the military.The median household income is about $ 31,051, which is extremely lowcompared to the national value of $ 51,939 (U.S. Census Bureau,2015). The same data indicated that about 28.3 % of the live inpoverty.
Thedemographics of the reflect the trends shownin the jurisdiction’s population. The Hispanic has the largestpopulation, followed by African Americans, and the Whites. Similarly,the proportion of Hispanic members of staff in the Department ofpolice is 54 %, blacks 27 %, and white 19 % (Reaves & Hickman,2014). About 82 % of the members of staff are male, while 18 % arefemale (Reaves & Hickman, 2014). The department has a total of1,259 police officers (Reaves & Hickman, 2014). Therefore, womenare underrepresented in the region`s police force.
Crimein the Jurisdiction
MiamiCity is among the cities with the highest number of crimes. It isestimated that about 23,601 crimes are reported annually (Areavibes,Inc., 2017). This translated to about 5,389 crimes per 100 thousandresidents, compared to the national rate of approximately 2,860incidents for every 100,000 citizens (Areavibes, Inc., 2017). Thedata indicate that Miami city has a higher crime rate than thecountry as a whole by 88 %. Out of the nine major categories offelony, property crime is the most common type of offense (4,367incidents), followed by theft (3,132 incidents / 100,000 residents),violent felonies (1,021 /100,000 people), and burglary (709 / 100,000citizens) (Areavibes, Inc., 2017).
Othercommon types of crime that are reported in Miami include assault(602.1), vehicle theft (542.7), and robbery (383.8). The figuresrepresent that number of incidents per 100,000 residents. Murder andrape are the least common types of crime reported in the city ofMiami. Their respective figures are 75 and 80 per 100,000 residents.The ranking of Miami city as one of the dangerous cities in the U.S.is supported by data showing that at least 14.76 crimes per 100,000people are committed on a daily basis. This implies that everyresident of this city has a probability of one in nine of becoming avictim of at least one of the aforementioned categories of crime.This data makes the Miami city safer than four percent of the U.S.cities only (Areavibes, Inc., 2017). These statistics suggest thatthe police department has a lot of work to do in order to enhance thelevel of security in the city and improve the crime rate figurescompared to those that are reported at the national level.
Orlandois a city that is located in Florida, just like Miami. Orlando alsohas a higher crime rate than the nation as a whole. About 6,956 per100,000 people compared to the national rate of about 2,860(Areavibes, Inc., 2017). Similar to Miami, the most common type ofoffense in Orlando is property crime. This is followed theft (4,309),burglary (1,267), and violent crime (941) (Areavibes, Inc., 2017).These figures represent the number of offenses per 100,000 residents.Similar to Miami, all categories of crime in Orlando are higher thanthe national data. For example, the total crime rate is about 143 %higher in Orlando than the one that is reported at the national level(Areavibes, Inc., 2017). In addition, a number of violent offensesare 152 % more than the crimes reported at the national level per100,000 citizens. However, it is riskier to reside in Orlando than inMiami since the earlier is safer than two percent of the U.S. citiesonly. The data reported in both cities indicates that crimeinsecurity is a major issue in the large urban areas, which escalatestheir figures compared to offenses reported at the national level per100,000 citizens.
Recruitmentand Selection Process
Thedepartment of police in Miami, similar to other organizations with amission to grow continuously, recruits new members of staff to meetthe demand for its services. From its website, the department doesnot set the maximize age required for new recruits. However, theminimum age is 19 years (MPD, 2017). The purpose of setting the agelimit is to ensure that people who are recruited have the capacity tomake decisions and determine whether they would like to pursue thisline of job as their career.
Inaddition, the department has set some academic requirements that mustbe met by individuals who would like to join the police unit inMiami. The most basic academic qualification is the high schooldiploma that must be possessed by every applicant (MPD, 2017). Inaddition, the applicants are required to have a GED or a higherdegree that was awarded an institution of learning that has beenaccredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department ofEducation (MPD, 2017). Apart from these minimum requirements,applicants are required to show the proof of the fact that theypassed CJBAT, FDLE, or CJBAT police exams within the area of lawenforcement. The purpose of this academic requirement is to ensurethat the newly recruited police officers are mentally prepared for acareer in law enforcement, which is the key mandate of the policeofficers.
Thereare three key factors that are considered when disqualifyingapplicants. First, the department disqualifies all individuals whonot U.S. citizens (MPD, 2017). Secondly, the department is requiredby Florida Statute number 943.13 to disqualify applicants who havebeen convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that pertains to falsestatement or perjury (MPD, 2017). Third, the department disqualifiespeople whose health is likely to limit their capacity to carry outday-to-day activities of a typical police officer (MPD, 2017).
Thedepartment has a simple website that is simple to navigate. It onlycontains that basic is information pertaining to the operations ofthe department. Some of its key features include home, informationabout the department, contacts, communities under its jurisdiction,services offered by the unit, how to join MPD, training center, andsafety (MPD, 2017). The testimonial section is another significantelement, which has allowed the department to interact with the peoplethat it serves through the online platform. For example, the websiteis connected to the social media platforms (such as Twitter), whichenables the residents to communicate with the administrators of thedepartment. The “quick link” is also a significant element thatallows users of the website to access other sites through the URLsthat are provided.
Althoughthe department’s website has the basic elements that provide themost important information that its users may want, there are threekey elements that should be included. The first one is the frequentlyasked questions (FAQ). This section will allow the department topredict the questions that residents and other users of the websiteare likely to ask frequently (Kolowich, 2015). The website will allowusers to access important information without the need to make callsor send emails to the department. Secondly, the resources sectionshould be included since it will allow the department to uploadarticles pertaining to its functions. This element will make thewebsite more informative. The third element is a site map, which isdeveloped with the objective of guiding individuals who would like tovisit the website. It will make the process of navigating the websiteeasier and more effective.
The has a comprehensive complaint processstipulating the steps that must be observed when reporting differentincidents. It holds that the complaints should be submitted within aperiod of one year (12 months) since the occurrence of an incident(MPD, 2017). However, residents are allowed to file complaints whenincidents giving rise to them took place more than one year ago, butthey are only considered upon the approval of the majority of themembers of the Complaint Investigative Panel (CIP). The CIP is alsoprohibited from considering any complaint related to incidents thattook place prior to the establishment of the City of Miami CharterAmendment, which happened in 2001 (MPD, 2017).
Individualsand groups that wish to file complaints do so to the CIP. The CIPfollows a five-step process for the complaints to be investigatedsuccessfully. First, the panel informs the Internal Affairs Divisionabout a complaint that has been received from the resident, whichmust happen within the first two working days (MPD, 2017).
Secondly,the division conducts a preliminary review of the investigation. Thepurpose of this review is to determine whether the complaint meetsthe threshold required to justify a decision for the CIP to go aheadwith an independent investigation.
Inthe third step, the CIP determines whether it will continue with theinvestigation. This decision is based on whether the investigationwill interfere with some criminal inquiries that are pending (MPD,2017).
Fourth,the CIP holds evidentiary hearings once a decision has been made tocontinue with independent investigations. Some of the individualsallowed to attend the hearings include the witnesses, complaints,affected officers, and their respective attorneys (MPD, 2017).
Lastly,the CIP delivers its findings depending on the data collected duringthe hearings. The findings can result in the classification of thecomplaint as unfounded, exonerated, no finding, or sustained (MPD,2017). The next action in the complaint process is determined by anyother aforementioned classes.
Positionof Internal Affairs in the Department’s Hierarchy
Therole of the Internal Affairs Division is to address all complaintsthat involve cases of misconduct by the employees of the department.The division reports to a higher officer where actions can be takenagainst officers who are found guilty. Therefore, this function fitsin the Internal Affairs Department and it reports to the Office ofthe Chief (MPD, 2017). However, the Office of the State Attorney maybe invited to take part in the investigations.
Corruptionis quite common in the law enforcement agencies, and the Miami PoliceDepartment is not an exemption. However, it is recognized as one ofthe key police departments that have managed to handle the majorcases of corruption successfully since the 1980s. One of the keyhistorical incidents took place in 1986 when police officersconducted a cocaine rip-off operation in Miami River (Miller, 2012).About three of the drug traffickers who were offloading the cocainedrowned in the river and died. Investigations indicated that that thepolice officer had engaged in corruption, unlawful rip-off, andcoercion. The Police Department sets the precedent that has beenfollowed to-date, where other criminal investigating agencies (suchas the FBI) are invited to conduct fair and independentinvestigations. The outcome of the investigations resulted in theretrenchment of over 10 % of the population of police officer inMiami (Miller, 2012).
However,several other cases of corruption have been reported in thejurisdiction. In one of the recent cases, Raul Castellon, a policeofficer working with the department, was arrested in March 2017 for acorruption scandal (Burke, 2017). It was alleged that Castellon usedto steal the personal details of other persons (including thearrested suspects) and sell them to third parties. The arrest of theoffender and his removal from the list of the officers working withthe department indicates that it deals with cases of corruption usinglegal instruments.
Apartfrom corruption, the excessive use of force is another form ofmisconduct that the department has been accused of in the recentpast. An investigation conducted by the Department of Justice showedthat police applied deadly force unnecessarily when dealing withsuspects (Arosa, 2013). This challenge was attributed to deficienciesin tactics and the poor supervision of junior police officers. In theworst cases, police engaged in shootouts that could have beenavoided, which is an indication of the abuse of authority.
Overspeeding of police cars has become a major concern for the MiamiPolice Department. Under normal circumstances, the law enforcementagents are supposed to ensure that traffic laws are observed.However, the alarming number of police officers working in thedepartment who have been caught over speeding their take-homevehicles is considered as a misconduct that need urgent reaction fromthe top administrators. It is estimated that over 800 police officersare caught driving their cruisers at a speed of more than 90 mph eachyear (Kestin, 2012). This misconduct has caused conflicts between thedepartment and other law enforcement agencies, including the trafficpolice unit in the city. Some of the key measures taken to addressthis type of misconduct include the suspension of officers andwithdrawal of the take-home cars for a period of six months.
Basedon the cases discussed in this section, it is evident that thedepartment handles the misconduct issues using two approaches, whichinclude the internal disciplinary actions and independent lawenforcement agents (Kestin, 2012). These are reactionary measures,indicating that the department maintains discipline by punishingpolice officers who break the rules. There are two alternatives thatcan be explored in the future in order to minimize incidents ofcorruption and other misconducts. First, the department can reformits training program in order to provide police officers with tacticswith will empower them to handle the security challenges of the 21stcentury. In the past, the police officers working with the departmenthave been accused of lacking the necessary skills, which has resultedin an increase in cases of abuse of power. This can be addressed byadjusting the current training program.
Secondly,the police department can develop a program for rewarding theofficers who demonstrate the use of proper tactics and skills whencarry out their duties. This can be an effective reinforcementprogram that will motivate the officers to do their work withoutbreaking the law. The source of motivation can be intrinsic (such asthe acknowledgement of dedicated officers during the meetings) orextrinsic, including the financial reward for those who performextraordinarily (Kestin, 2012).
Changesto the Agency
Thereare three key changes that can go a long way in enhancing thecapacity of the to deliver quality to theresidents of the city and address the aforementioned weaknesses.First, the training curriculum needs to be expanded in order to makepolice training a continuous process. This means that the departmentshould establish a comprehensive program that will ensure thatofficers are given additional training depending on the weaknessesthat are discovered during their line of duty. For example, officerswho lack proper tactics to handle suspects should undergo trainingthat is different from those whose weakness is inability to observeethics in their practice.
Secondly,there should be a clear separation two major functions, including theinvestigation and maintenance of law and order. The combination ofthe two functions results in the abuse of power (MPD, 2017). The roleof investigation should be allocated to specialists who haveexperience and skills that will help them source information withoutusing excess force. Apart from the abuse of power by officers wholack adequate tactics to conduct investigations, the separation offunctions will enhance efficiency by helping the department gathercredible evidence that is needed for successful prosecution ofsuspects.
Thethird type of change that is required in the department is theestablishment of an independent unit to discipline police officerswho are accused of engaging in misconducts. Currently, the most ofthe incidents of police misconduct are handled by the InternalAffairs Division that is made up of other employees of the department(MPD, 2017). Therefore, objectivity may not be achieved whendisciplining officers. For example, persistent in the cases of overspeeding among police officers can be attributed to the lack ofeffective disciplinary mechanisms (Kestin, 2012). This challengeshould be addressed by outsourcing investigations and disciplinaryfunctions to an external body that will maintain objectivity in itsdecision.
Theprimary function of any police department across the world is toenforce the law. This function is accomplished through themaintenance of the law and order. The conducts its operations in Southeastern Florida. Its jurisdiction isdefined by the borders of the City of Miami. Some of the keychallenges that the department faces when maintaining security is thefact that it operates within the urban environment and its servicesare demanded by a large population of about 417,650 residents. Inaddition, the level of poverty is higher than the national value,which is a major source of security threat in the city. This fact isconfirmed by the data showing that the total crime rates in Miami arehigher than the national figures by 88%. Similar trends are observedin the city of Orlando, which indicates that the urban environment isassociated with more security threats than other regions.
Thedepartment, similar to most of the law enforcement units has severalcases of misconduct among its officers. Most of these incidents areaddressed by the Internal Affairs Division, which is a weaknessbecause it may not be able to make objective divisions when punishingpolice officers. The key cases of misconduct are associated with overspeeding of the take police vehicles, use of excessive force, andcorruption. These challenges can be addressed in the future byadopting three changes that are recommended in this paper. Thesechanges include the expansion of the police training program to makecontinuous, the establishment of an external body maintainsdisciplinary issues, and separation of the functions of lawenforcement from the maintenance of laws and order.
Areavibes,Inc. (2017). Miami, FL crime: Reported annual crime in Miami.Areavibes, Inc. retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttp://www.areavibes.com/miami-fl/crime/
Arosa,E. (2013). DOJ slams Miami PD’s excessive use of force inshootings. CBS Miami. Retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttp://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/07/09/doj-slams-miami-pds-excessive-use-of-force-in-shootings/
Burke,P. (2017). Hialeah police officer arrested on corruption, identityfraud charges. ABC. Retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttp://www.local10.com/news/crime/hialeah-police-officer-arrested-on-corruption-identity-fraud-charges
Kestin,S. (2012). Speeding cop Fausto Lopez fired. Sun Sentinel. RetrievedApril 12, 2017, fromhttp://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-09-14/news/fl-speeding-cop-fired-20120914_1_officer-fausto-lopez-chief-manuel-orosa-miami-police
Kolowich,L. (2015). 12 critical elements every website homepage must have. HubSpot. Retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttps://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31097/12-Critical-Elements-Every-Homepage-Must-Have-Infographic.aspx#sm.01cqzffi1c7vf4q10672e99crcjg2
MiamiPolice Department (2017). Professional law enforcement. MPD.Retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttp://www.miami-police.org/training.html#history
Miller,C. (2012). The Miami River Cops Case. Miami Beach. Retrieved April12, 2017, from http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/miami-river-cops
Pena,R. (2012). U.S. Bachelor degree rate passes milestone. The New YorkTimes. Retrieved April 12, 2017,fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/education/census-finds-bachelors-degrees-at-record-level.html
Reaves,A. & Hickman, J. (2014). Law enforcement management andadministrative statistics, 2000: Data for individual state and localagencies. Washington, DC: The U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S.Census Bureau (2016). Quick facts: Miami City, Florida. U.S. CensusBureau. Retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttps://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/1245000,12086
U.S.Census Bureau (2015). Median household income in the United States:2015. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 12, 2017, fromhttps://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2016/comm/cb16-158_median_hh_income_map.html
No related posts.