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Park safety a priority for Miami-Dade mayor and police

Police Director Freddy Ramirez and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava spoke of the need for more police visibility at public parks and further interaction with youngsters.
Police Director Freddy Ramirez and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava spoke of the need for more police visibility at public parks and further interaction with youngsters.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced a new initiative Monday aimed at keeping Miami-Dade County’s public parks safe — especially for kids.

It comes after several incidents of gun violence at county parks in recent years.

“We cannot accept the status quo. We must build a safer community to protect lives,” Levine Cava said. “This is not a simple solution. This is a complex problem.”

Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez joined the mayor and county parks director Maria Nardi to announce an expansion of their existing partnership, with a focus on community policing at some of the county’s most popular parks.

They’re also beefing up the so-called PAL (Police Athletic League) program — giving more officers a chance to mentor young kids.

“We can’t lose any more children,” Ramirez said. “That cannot happen and this is the way to do it.

“We have to start from the beginning, building the trust through our PAL program, through having our patrols at the parks.”

The mayor said part of the funding for the initiative comes from the new $135 million naming rights agreement for AmericanAirlines Arena, which is becoming FTX Arena later this year.

In addition to more visibility at parks, officers will also be encouraged to interact more with members of the public.

“Parks build communities,” Nardi said. “They are truly, as the mayor said, the equalizer. They bring everyone together, regardless of age or ability.”


About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.