Florida PBA To Begin Career Development Plan Workgroup

On June 15th, the Florida PBA held a meeting with the PBA representatives on the Career Development Plan Workgroup. The workgroup members met with Chapter Presidents and PBA staff to discuss the structure of the our initial proposal to the official workgroup. The official workgroup will consist of PBA representatives, management representatives and the Department of Management Services (DMS).

The official workgroup will begin meeting after July 1, 2016.

As the workgroup meets and proposals are worked out, we will begin to fill in more details for you. So with that in my mind, here’s a brief summary outline of our proposed plan:

  • Voluntary plan – Officers have the option to participate or not.
  • Front loaded increases to address critical retention needs for all agencies. Combined 57% of the officers have less than 10 years of service with the state of Florida. Every agency has an officer population with at least 50% of the officers at 10 or less years of service.
  • During the implementation year, officers are grandfathered in to receive increases based on their previous years of service.
  • Following the implementation year, officers must meet certain training or educational requirements in order to be eligible for the next increase.

Thank you for reading this update and please stay tuned. As always, stay safe.

BCPBA Awards Annual Scholarships

The Broward County Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (BCPBA) presented awards to the winners of its annual essay contest at the quarterly board of directors meeting held on June 23, 2016.

The organization awarded top scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year to five students of the organization’s law enforcement members.

This year’s first place winner is Brittany Bolger of Coral Springs. Brittany received a $1,200 scholarship, which will be applied toward her education at the University of Central Florida. The first place scholarship was sponsored by Matthew Oppedisano of the Wellington, Florida-based Law Enforcement Retirement Advisory Service.

The second place winner was Jake Bottom of Coconut Creek. Jake received a $600 scholarship, which will be applied toward his education at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

The remaining winners each received scholarships in the amount $500 from the Broward County PBA.

The third place recipient was Tanner Yurchuck of Lake Worth. Tanner will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University. Tori Fernandez of West Palm Beach earned the fourth place award, and she is currently attending the University of Central Florida. The fifth place winner was Kerigan McCoy of Coconut Creek. Kerigan will be attending Florida Atlantic University.

The Broward County PBA Annual Scholarship Award was founded in 2003 as part of The HOPE Fund’s mission to assist the children of law enforcement members in their effort to attend college. To be eligible for the scholarship, participants must be the son or daughter of a Broward County PBA member in good standing and plan to be a part-time or full-time student at an accredited two- or four-year university. More information about the scholarship may be found at bcpba.org.

BCPBA Endorses Teresa Williams For Broward County State Attorney

The Broward County Police Benevolent Association has announced its support of Teresa Williams for Broward County State Attorney in the Democratic Primary Election on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

“Teresa has represented and defended several of our members, which have all had positive results,” Broward County PBA President Jeff Marano said. “Through these experiences, she has seen firsthand some of the issues and concerns we have with the current administration of this office.”

Williams began her career as a criminal lawyer as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. She was a specialized juvenile prosecutor, sexual battery and child abuse prosecutor, robbery prosecutor, homicide prosecutor and was the Chief of the Career Criminal Robbery Unit when she left the State Attorney’s Office in 2002. Williams also worked for the Office of Statewide Prosecution, and coordinated a multi-agency task force targeting pharmaceutical fraud and white collar crimes.

Williams started her own law practice in Fort Lauderdale in 2006. She is Board Certified in Criminal Trial by the Florida Bar, and is a Board Member of the Broward Association for Women Lawyers, and the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as a member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Williams and her husband, Kevin, have lived in Broward County for 23 years. They raised their daughter and son in their first home in Plantation Gardens and both were active in coaching for the Plantation Athletic League. They are parishioners at St. Gregory’s Parish where they counseled marrying couples through the FOCCUS ministry, and where Teresa serves as the corresponding secretary for St. Gregory’s Women’s Guild. She has a degree in Administration of Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami School of Law.

BCPBA Endorses Jim Fondo For Broward County Sheriff

The Broward County Police Benevolent Association has announced its support of Jim Fondo for Broward County Sheriff in the Democratic Primary Election on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

“As a deputy who successfully rose through the ranks and into the command, we believe Jim is the best candidate suited to stabilize the morale, remove the politics and cease the retaliation, intimidation and threats,” PBA President Jeff Marano said. “It is a difficult and dangerous environment facing law enforcement throughout America, and the workplace should be the last place a Deputy should feel unsafe.”

Fondo began his career in law enforcement in 1982 with the Dania Beach Police Department. Upon joining the Broward Sheriff’s Office following the merger of Dania Beach and BSO, Fondo served as a district detective in the Criminal Investigations Unit and the Selective Enforcement Team. In 1990, he was transferred to the Organized Crime Unit, as a detective, working undercover investigating narcotic violations. In February 1997, Fondo was promoted to sergeant working in Lauderdale Lakes and then transferring to Tamarac, serving as the supervisor of the Selective Enforcement Team. In March 2001, he was promoted to Lieutenant and worked as the Executive Officer (Assistant Police Chief) in the cities of Tamarac, Dania Beach and then North Lauderdale. In December, 2006, Fondo was named District Chief (Police Chief) of the Central Broward District. In February, 2009, he was named Director of the Strategic Investigations Division (SID) and also named to the South Florida HIDTA Board as a voting member. During his tenure in SID he was the Security Co-chair of the 2010 Super Bowl committee and then Security Co-chair of the 2011 Orange Bowl committee for Broward County.

During his 30 year career, Fondo earned his Master’s in criminology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Florida Atlantic University. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program from the Center for Advanced Criminal Justice Studies and in June, 2011, he graduated from the FBI National Academy, Class 245, in Quantico, Virginia. In 2009, as supervisor of BSO’s Homeland Security Unit, Fondo was granted secret security clearance by the FBI to be briefed on terrorism related events through the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

The Role Of Local Police In The War On Terrorism

On November 12, 2015, a double suicide bombing tore through a busy shopping district in Beirut, Lebanon, killing at least 43 people and wounding more than 200 others. The next day, six seemingly coordinated attacks devastated Paris, France, killing at least 129 people and wounding 352. Two months ago, ISIS struck again in Brussels, Belgium. All three attacks have been claimed by the terror group ISIS, which issued a video warning of further attacks on countries taking part in bombing Syria, specifically threatening to strike Washington, D.C.

As the Brussels, Paris and Beirut terrorist attacks demonstrate, the lines between international and domestic threats are closer than many police officers may realize.

For decades, international terrorist organizations have spread their networks across the globe. More recently, the Internet has allowed them to identify and communicate with sympathizers anywhere in the world, who can be radicalized and carry out attacks where they live.

Preparing Local Officers
In most cases, local officers’ training supports the assumption that international terrorism isn’t something of significant concern to them; domestic threats are where their focus lies. It turns out, though, that police officers on the beat do have opportunities to assist efforts against international terrorism.

Take, for example, a 2005 investigation into a chain of robberies by the Los Angeles Police Department, which found that the thefts were an attempt to finance a series of terrorist bombings of military bases and houses of worship around Los Angeles by the radical Islamic group Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh.

In some cases, as in Los Angeles, police officers working local cases can uncover links to international groups seeking to wreak havoc on, and within, the U.S.

Focus on Training
To shift this mindset so officers see a bigger picture of fighting terrorism requires one thing: enhanced training. Police departments should seek out continuous training about the current state of international terrorism and the indicators beat officers on U.S. streets might see. Nearby field offices of federal agencies can offer support, often at no cost to the local department. These agencies could provide:

  • Training sessions that would help officers understand the validity of the threat,
  • Information about what types of activities to look for while on patrol,
  • Points of contact if patrol officers encounter suspicious people or activities, and
  • Assistance developing emergency response plans for when attacks do occur.

Government agencies as diverse as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offer free training resources for law enforcement. Ideally, the training should be federally mandated and standardized, but this would at least be a start in the right direction.

Expand “Eyes and Ears”
One of the most effective strategies is one already in use for other purposes, one commonly referred to by the phrase “eyes and ears.”

Just as departments rely on neighborhood watch groups and civilian patrols to be extra sets of eyes and ears for their officers, it is crucial for these same officers to act as extra eyes and ears for the various federal agencies that investigate terrorism cases. This does not really require any new skills from officers; they are on the lookout for suspicious activity just as they normally would be, but with a heightened cognizance of the terrorist threat.

This eyes and ears strategy can be highly effective, as officers typically have unimpeded access when patrolling high-potential targets such as airports, seaports, bus/subway terminals, churches, schools, shopping malls, U.S. landmarks, sports arenas, hospitals, and tourist attractions.

Officers also daily patrol the same roads that terrorists use to travel and transport materials to be used in their attacks. Further, if terrorists are seeking to avoid detection by living and planning their attacks in rural areas where counterterrorism efforts are not heavily concentrated, local officers are the most likely to encounter them.

In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics says local police officers outnumber federal agents by a ratio of almost 10:1. Local officers are therefore far more likely than federal counterterrorism agents to encounter suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism. It also means they will be the first to respond should an attack occur.

Increasing their awareness of the potential to encounter international terrorism while on their daily beats will help local officers fight international crimes as well as domestic ones.

By Jeremy Nikolow and Anthony Galante
American Military University