Message from the Chief Of Police
During the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, our Island City community was shaken by the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. On that fateful morning, 49 people were killed, 53 wounded, and countless others were impacted by this horrific event. This mass shooting was one of many that have occurred in the United States, but this one hit close to home. It was a stark reminder that hate, unfortunately, remains among us, and there is work still to be done to eradicate hate.
On July 21, 2021, I visited the Pulse Interim Memorial on South Orange Avenue in Orlando. There are no words that can express the many thoughts and feelings I had while walking the grounds, but one thing remained clear to me. Crystal clear as it always has and will continue to be the mission of our agency to seek out and prosecute hate so one day we can live in a community without fear of bias. The law is clear that the commission of a crime with prejudice based on race, color, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age is a hate crime (FSS 775.085). In Florida, these crimes have enhanced penalties, and our police department is committed to prosecuting hatred to the fullest extent of the law.
If you have been the victim of a crime that you believe was predicated on bias, our officers stand ready to receive and thoroughly investigate the incident. Our victim advocate will be here to provide the necessary support through the investigative and prosecutorial processes. For more information about hate crimes and our commitment to “Stop the Hate,” please visit our website at wmpd.org and search “Hate / Bias Crimes.” Together, let us stand up for what is right, and what is right is for all of us to uncover acts of hatred and together hold these criminals accountable through our judicial processes.