Message from the Chief Of Police

** PLEASE NOTE THE UPDATED HOURS EFFECTIVE 07/17/2020 **
INFORMATION/ADMINISTRATION: MON - FRI 9:00AM - 6:00PM
SATURDAY 9:00AM - 5:00PM
RECORDS: MON - FRI 8:00AM - 4:00PM
EVIDENCE(Call to make appointment): MON - THU  8:00AM - 2:00PM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE: TIME FOR A CHANGE?  YES!
09/01/2020


To the residents, business owners and visitors of the Island City of Wilton Manors:

On May 25th the tragic event in Minneapolis stunned and shocked a nation.  The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer (and the three officers who failed to intervene) was reprehensible and appalling.  

Let me be very clear on this point, those actions (or non-actions) do not represent our police profession.  The maneuver used has been labeled a “deadly use of force” by our Police Department since 2006.  Then, in 2009, at the direction of the Broward Chiefs of Police Association, the maneuver was eliminated from our Broward Police Academy curriculum. 

 Let me be clear on a second point:  No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop!

 The Wilton Manors Police Department’s Mission Statement is as follows:
POLICING WITH PASSION FOR OUR PROFESSION & COMPASSION FOR THOSE WE SERVE

 Our Department prides itself on its service to our community and that is our primary goal.  We hire, promote and train our employees to live and work by the Mission Statement above.  Our employees strive each and every day to apply common sense and common decency when they interact with the public.  All of us are committed to service through our strength in character.

 As the demonstrations continue and the voices of discontent reach higher and higher volumes; know that we hear those voices and we feel your pain and frustration.  We simply ask that you work with your respective community leaders to ensure the safety of all persons and property.  Injury to persons or destruction to property has no place in the First Amendment.

 On June 5th the Broward Chiefs of Police held a press conference and announced its “Call to Action” and each Chief of Police pledged their support for the following five points:
  • The eradication of bad cops through an early warning alert system
  • A collective review of our use of force policies and implement change where needed
  • Continue to engage our community by including a diverse range of input: collaboration
  • Enhanced training to end bias-based policing and increase cultural sensitivity
  • Repair the damage and restore the trust 
For the past four years the Wilton Manors Police Department has partnered with the Urban League of Broward County on its Justice Project Task Force; a task force which I am very proud to co-chair.  We know that only through collaboration and partnership can we heal the wounds of injustice.  We also know that we have work to do and that this “Journey for Justice” is a long and difficult road to travel.  We ask that you join us on this, our “journey for justice”!

As always, the Wilton Manors Police Department is at your service day or night, 24/7. 
NOTE: Because of the current health crisis our front desk hours have been reduced.  Please check our website for the latest hours, contacts, or to report code issues, etc.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                 HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS REMINDER
07/2020

As everyone is likely aware, hurricane season is upon us and there is always the possibility that our City may be affected by a hurricane, as well as varying storms. It has been forecasted that we will see an increase in the amount of potential storms this year, and there already have been an unusual amount of named storms early in the season. As we reach the season’s traditional peak, we are asking for the community’s help to make sure that everyone is safe if a storm strikes our area.  Many of us have seen firsthand, the devastation that hurricanes can cause, and how other cities have been impacted by storms.  


Please ensure that the finishing touches are made to your preparations. If we receive a hurricane watch or warning, we also have to be ready to take care of the following:

  • Remove any type of furniture, branches, storage of bulk items, trash/debris, garbage, litter, etc. 
  • Secure construction sites by having any and all construction materials removed or tied down including barricades and cones.
Please remember this is for you and your neighbor’s protection, please help us make this Hurricane Season a safe one.

You may reach us:
  • By mail: 2020 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305
  • By phone: (954) 390-2151
  • By email: CodeCompliance@wmpd.org
  • Online: https://www.wiltonmanors.com/CCU
  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ETIQUETTE DURING COVID-19

 We are all familiar with the term “social distancing” by now.  Many are encouraging the use of the phrase “physical distancing” instead which helps people to imagine a less isolated solution. Our goal for physical distancing is that when out and about in public or when socializing with those we don’t live with, we keep ourselves, or our family group, at least 6 feet away from others when possible.

While following the guidance of the arrows and directions through stores is always important, it’s not worth getting into an altercation over. Either pass, doing what you can keep your distance, or go back the other way if the aisle isn’t crowded.  Don’t make a stand when there are other safe options or call upon the store manager to assist. 
Greetings continue to feel lacking during this strange time.  Despite wonderfully bright and cheery waves when we meet, we miss hugs and solid handshakes, high fives, and fist bumps. Greetings that involve touching are still not recommended at this time, so perfect your waves (you know your “professional wave”, your “zoom-meeting wave”, your “I-love-you-Grandma wave”, and use your tone of voice to match the occasion.

While masks are causing a lot of divisiveness, when combined with physical distancing wearing a mask in public can greatly reduce the risk of spread.  Wearing masks may be around for a while so it’s best to try and get used to what it’s like to interact with them on. Since most people are wearing cotton or medical masks and few have clear plastic ones allowing their full face to be seen we are more often than not without many facial cues.

Many of us are so fortunate to have so many ways to connect to help get us through this crisis together, but loneliness and anxiety are still huge concerns.  Try being patient and kind with each other. Try listening to one another. Be respectful to one another. Try helping those in need.  These are the kinds of attitudes and actions that will carry us through. They often cost us nothing, and yet they can make an impactful difference.

TRAFFIC SAFETY!  STAY FOCUSED!  STAY SAFE!

As businesses reopen and return to normal, the Wilton Manors Police Department wants to promote pedestrian and traffic safety while encouraging people to comply with Right-of Way laws along with applying a little common sense and courtesy.  Often individuals conflict with other people driving, bicycling, or walking, because their intended course intersects.  Many times, posted traffic signs are ignored and the person walking or driving believes they can outrun the other, which is when collisions occur.
Florida law states a vehicle approaching a pedestrian legally crossing the street at an intersection must:

  • Stop when a pedestrian in a crosswalk is anywhere on the driver’s side of the road
  • Stop when a pedestrian in a crosswalk is approaching and within one lane of the driver’s side of the road
  • Never pass a car that is stopped at a crosswalk; there may be a person hidden behind this stopped automobile
These laws apply to bicyclists as well as motor vehicle drivers.  If you fail to yield, drivers face a minimum citation of $165 and three points on their driver license. What’s even worse, you can severely injure someone, or possibly take their life.

Florida law also provides regulations for pedestrians crossing roadways.  The pedestrian does not always have the right-of-way.  Pedestrians at crosswalks at signalized intersections must yield if they face a red traffic signal or a steady “Don’t Walk” signal.  Pedestrians may not enter the roadway and they must yield to drivers once the crosswalk signal begins flashing.  If you are already in the crosswalk when the signal starts flashing you can continue crossing.  The flashing “Don’t Walk” phase is timed so that you can make it all the way across the crosswalk at a normal walking pace without impeding motorists.    

If a pedestrian fails to comply with these laws, they face a minimum citation of $115.  However, a traffic citation may be the least of your worries if you step in front of a moving vehicle and you are struck.  

WMPD’s goal is to encourage everyone to work together and protect each other on the roadway.  All too often we are distracted, in a hurry, and not focusing on the tasks at hand, and this behavior on our roadways consistently endangers the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.  We don’t want anyone to get hurt or lose their life while they are enjoying the many great things our city has to offer.  
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                 ** OPEN LETTER FROM CHIEF PAUL O'CONNELL **


To the residents, business owners and visitors of the Island City of Wilton Manors:

On May 25th the tragic event in Minneapolis stunned and shocked a nation.  The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer (and the three officers who failed to intervene) was reprehensible and appalling.  Let me be very clear on this point, those actions (or non-actions) do not represent our police profession.  The maneuver used has been labeled a “deadly use of force” by our Police Department since 2006.  Then, in 2009, the maneuver was eliminated from our police academy curriculum.  

Let me be clear on a second point:  No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop!

The Wilton Manors Police Department’s Mission Statement is as follows:
POLICING WITH PASSION FOR OUR PROFESSION & COMPASSION FOR THOSE WE SERVE

Our Department prides itself on its service to our community and that is our primary goal.  We hire, promote and train our employees to live and work by the Mission Statement above.  Our employees strive each and every day to apply common sense and common decency when they interact with the public.  They are committed to service through their strength in character.

As the demonstrations continue and the voices of discontent reach higher and higher volume; know that we hear those voices and we feel your pain and frustration.  We simply ask that you work with your respective community leaders to ensure the safety of all persons and property.  Injury or destruction has no place in the First Amendment.

On June 5th the Broward Chiefs of Police held a press conference and announced its “Call to Action” and each Chief of Police pledged their support for the following five points:
  • The eradication of bad cops through an early warning alert system
  • A collective review of our use of force policies and implement change where needed
  • Continue to engage our community by including a diverse range of input: collaboration
  • Enhanced training to end bias based policing and increase cultural sensitivity
  • Repair the damage and restore the trust 

For the past four years the Wilton Manors Police Department has partnered with the Urban League of Broward County on its Justice Project Task Force; a task force which I am very proud to co-chair.  We know that only through collaboration and partnership can we heal the wounds of injustice.  We also know that we have work to do that this “Journey for Justice” is a long and difficult road to travel.  We ask that you join us on this, our “journey for justice”!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           
WORKING TOGETHER
 
The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has been shown not to discriminate, it has truly impacted every person across the globe, and of course our Island City as well. Throughout this time however, our community has rallied together as it usually does during difficult times. We have seen individuals and businesses support each other. You have ensured that Governmental Orders handed down to keep us safe such as social distancing are being adhered to. You have helped make this dilemma as safe as possible, while creating an even closer-knit community along the way. During this time period, your Code Compliance Unit has also been involved by assisting with traffic for food distribution, advocating social distancing measures, mitigating price gouging, and keeping Wilton Manors clean. 

As we plot our course towards normalcy and turn the corner, it is important that we still keep these principles which have been guiding us, so that we can make a full recovery and take our city to even greater heights. In doing so, we must continue to be vigilant of potential price gouging, be cognizant of social distancing, and continue to practice safe hygiene. We must also continue to keep our properties clean so that our property values are not impacted, and try to help those who are elderly or may have physical or financial impairments, so that they can achieve the same. 

Please contact us with any questions or concerns, and let’s continue to work together towards an even greater Island City, because life will always be better here.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our Response and Responsibilities during
the Coronavirus pandemic

 
To the Wilton Manors Community,

I take this opportunity to reach out to you amidst this Coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic to update you on public safety here in the Island City.  First and foremost, please know our ability to provide public safety services to our community is unchanged, and we remain committed to delivering law enforcement services throughout this COVID-19 (C-19) pandemic.  Our agency continues to work with our local, state and federal partners to stay up to date with the latest information which allows WMPD to make informed decisions in the interest of public safety.  We have taken steps to protect our community, our first responders and our support staff to mitigate the exposure, transmission, contraction and cultivation of COVID-19 and through this pandemic we will remain vigilant in patrolling our community with public safety being our # 1 priority.  

Due to the current health issue and in an effort to minimize first responder exposure to COVID-19, our agency has modified some of our practices.  Currently, we have expanded our use of taking police reports over the phone.  Officers have been encouraged to maintain adequate distance when interacting with citizens and officers have begun meeting with members of our community in “open air” locations during calls for service.  When our officers make a request of you to meet in the open air or at a distance, know that this is done in the interest of health safety for all involved.  We ask that you follow their lead so we can continue to provide service to you in the safest manner possible.  

To our residents, we continue to work toward maintaining safe neighborhoods in the same manner we did before this crisis.  The relationships we have cultivated over the years will enable us to navigate through this pandemic together, and together we will remain as vigilant as we always have been.  The foundations of our “Know Your Neighbor – Know Your Neighborhood” and “See Something – Say Something” initiatives were built on the pillars of trust:  Trust in each other and the Trust you have in WMPD.  We add one pillar to assist all of us as we travel this difficult road: “Don’t Knock When You Can Call / Email.”  This phrase embodies exactly what we must practice during the coming weeks ahead.  Separation is critical in our efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus.  Know that we shall utilize all of the above methods to deter, detect and apprehend criminal activity.  As always, do not hesitate to call us if something is not right in your neighborhood.  

To our business community, we ask you stay abreast of executive orders being implemented by federal, state, county and city officials.  Most importantly, we seek your voluntary and immediate compliance with any new regulation that may go into effect as these regulations are being put in place for your safety, the safety of your patrons and the safety of our community at large.  We empathize with you and your employees during what has become a challenging time for our business community and we stand ready to support you in our public safety endeavor.    

Finally, below you will find some operational adjustments we have made in order to maintain and sustain a healthy workforce.  

None of our adjustments have resulted in fewer officers patrolling our community and there has been no modification which has reduced the number of law enforcement personnel we have investigating crimes.  

  • Report Crimes:  In the event of an emergency or in progress situation, continue to call 9-1-1.  For all other incidents call our non-emergency dispatch center at (954) 764-HELP (4357).  All crimes and incidents will continue to be investigated by our officers/detectives.  To better protect the community, delayed crimes/incidents may generate a phone call to you by the officer so they can obtain important investigative information .  We encourage you to volunteer information to our dispatch center regarding the potential for first responders to encounter COVID-19 on any given incident.
  • Police Lobby Hours:  Our lobby will be CLOSED to the public effective 3/19/20 and will mirror that of City Hall.
  • General Information:  You may contact us as (954) 390-2150 or info@wmpd.org.
    • Mon-Sat. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    • Closed on Sunday
  • Records Requests:  Should you need a record, please contact us at (954) 390-2150 (option #1) or e-mail your request to records@wmpd.org. 
  • Fingerprinting:  Fingerprinting services have been suspended until further notice.
We encourage you to stay up to date with COVID-19 information.  We also ask that you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and SaferWatch.  We will utilize these social media platforms to communicate important information to our community.  Our website is also a valuable tool to stay informed…visit us here at wmpd.org.    

Through this C-19 pandemic our community will remain strong and resilient, and together we will persevere through these challenging times.  I believe in the Power of Perseverance!  Our Country has seen much bigger challenges and endured. Your Police Department and its employees stand ready to serve our community during this health crisis.   We wish you good health and safety along the way, and should you need our assistance do not hesitate to call upon us.

Sincerely,

Paul O’Connell
Chief of Police

 
To the Wilton Manors Community,