In life and in work, success is achieved through the willingness and ability to evolve, adapt and innovate. That is especially true when it comes to public safety.
Throughout my four decades in law enforcement, the crime-fighting skills, tools and initiatives I’ve been equipped with have continuously improved to keep up with changing demands. Criminals don’t give up because they’ve been caught once before — they simply seek new ways to game the system and inflict new harm. That is why it is always so important to keep up with trends and strive at all times to be several steps ahead of the bad guys. At the Broward Sheriff’s Office, we remain on the cutting edge of advancement.
Now, as we embark on a new year, I’m excited to launch our #SaferBroward initiative, which will pioneer proactive programs, policies and initiatives to achieve the results Broward residents expect from our agency.
Throughout the year, we will take an in-depth look at the new ways BSO works to keep you safe. One of most exciting new initiatives is the way we receive important, live and actionable intelligence from the community through a variety of sources. That includes the recent implementation of the SaferWatch app, which makes reporting suspicious activity or perceived threats at our schools a whole lot easier. SaferWatch covers more than 440 public, charter and private schools in Broward and gives students, teachers and parents the ability to submit photos, videos, audio files or text messages anonymously to BSO. Remember, if you see something say something — and now you can even send something.
SaferWatch is a remarkable new tool, but it is just one of many new measures we’ve implemented to enhance school security. BSO is ensuring that an armed School Resource Officer, Deputy or Guardian will be on every public and charter school campus in all BSO-patrolled cities—and equipping them with the tools and training necessary to be successful.
Additionally, our new, dedicated threat assessment division will keep us safer by serving as a clearinghouse for all information related to individuals who pose a potential threat to our schools and the communities we serve.
Under my administration, BSO also created bold new programs aimed at limiting the loss of property. One of the most successful ways we’ve done this is through the creation of the Burglary Apprehension Team (BAT). BSO’s BAT targets criminals who break into homes and vehicles. Combining bold surveillance tactics targeting “hot spots” and known or suspected burglars with cutting-edge law enforcement predictive technology, burglaries in our communities plummeted in recent years.
BSO is also one of the largest policing agencies in the nation to have successfully deployed body-worn cameras to our uniformed officers. All BSO road patrol deputies are now equipped with this technology, and it’s already been paying dividends. It provides transparency and accountability to the public we serve.
While stopping criminals is important, equally important is addressing the root causes of crime and preventing individuals from initially turning to a life of crime. Our community policing efforts address these approaches, as do our programs which seek to help the mentally ill, youth and the homeless. The help we give to community groups also helps strengthen our community and its support network of social services.
As always, your input can also make a difference and help make for a #SaferBroward.