President Obama designated the week of Oct. 2-8, 2016, as National Community Policing Week. Community policing is a public safety philosophy based upon the partnership and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities that they are sworn to protect and serve. At the center of this philosophy is the idea that all members of the community, both officers and civilians, have a stake and roles in creating safe neighborhoods and improving the quality of life where they live and work.
Throughout this week, USAO MDFL staff met with community members and law enforcement officers to discuss ways to collaborate on specific projects throughout the year. MDFL’s Community Outreach Specialist visited Lockhart Magnet School with officers from the Tampa Police Department to speak with students about the importance of community involvement and creating positive relationships with law enforcement.
On October 4, 2016, we joined both the Tampa and St. Petersburg Police Departments for citywide National Night Out events.
This week, five MDFL law enforcement agencies received grant funding through the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). CHP provides funding directly to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies for the hiring and rehiring of entry-level career law enforcement officers in an effort to create and preserve jobs and increase community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. Our district has been awarded more than $5.2 million to fund 42 law enforcement positions. Award recipients include the City of Apopka, the Green Cove Springs Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Ormond Beach, and the Tampa Police Department.
In addition, two MDFL agencies have been awarded funding through the COPS Office as part of President Obama’s commitment to implement key recommendations from the 21st Century Policing Task Force report. The Tampa Police Department will receive $100,000 for engagement with youth in schools and the University of South Florida will receive $100,000 for fair and impartial policing.