As 2021 draws to a close I remain focused on improving our residents’ quality of life. At the top of my list is strong law enforcement, increasing police visibility, and reducing crime. On September 9 our Commission held an emergency Commission meeting at my request to discuss law and order and the immediate steps we needed to take with a sense of urgency to deter and prevent crime throughout our City, and South Beach in particular. During this meeting I emphasized that we need action, not just talk.
Since that meeting I have proposed more than twelve (12) legislative initiatives all with the goal of significantly reducing crime quickly. Here are the highlights of some of the initiatives that along with a highly visible and proactive police presence will dramatically reduce crime.
After I asked for data from our City Prosecutor I learned that 383 of the 418 (92%) City ordinance arrests made by our police in the past year were dismissed either by our City prosecutor or the Court. In response to this information, I proposed a legislative initiative passed by our Commission in October directing our City Prosecutor to prosecute any case and appeal any court dismissal where the defendant has a prior arrest record anywhere in the U.S.
At tomorrow’s Commission meeting I am bringing a legislative initiative for Commission approval directing our City Prosecutors to assume responsibility from the State Attorney’s Office of five misdemeanor offenses: battery, discharge of a firearm, trespass, indecent exposure and criminal mischief. This will allow our City to vigorously prosecute these criminal offenses.
At tomorrow’s meeting I am also proposing the following initiatives for Commission approval in an effort to reduce crime:
- Exploring legislation that would require Miami-Dade County Judges to impose certain minimum mandatory penalties upon repeat criminal misdemeanor offender
- Exploring options to secure the sworn testimony of crime victims who reside outside of Miami Beach in order to aid in the prosecution of offenders committing crimes in Miami Beach
- Establishing at no cost to Miami Beach a pre-trial diversionary program (rehabilitation or training) for certain arrested offenders
- Supporting our Police Department's attendance at initial criminal court bond hearings to aid the Court in its determination in setting the appropriate bond amount and conditions of release
- Directing our City Prosecutor to assume the prosecution of Miami Beach ordinance violation charges where the State Attorney’s Office declines to prosecute
- Urging the Florida Legislature to amend the Florida Constitution to allow cities such as Miami Beach to establish courts with an elected judiciary to preside over criminal cases
- Seeking to establish a small pool of County Court Criminal Judges to preside over all Miami Beach misdemeanor and municipal ordinance cases to enable these judges to gain a clear perspective and familiarity with the quality of life crime impacting our residents
- Seeking the assignment of dedicated Assistant State Attorneys to exclusively prosecute Miami Beach misdemeanor cases to provide them with a better grasp of the crimes being committed here
- Directing our City administration to prominently publicize how the public can attend criminal court hearings or participate on Zoom. Public participation at criminal court hearings can positively impact judicial behavior
The revolving door of arrest and immediate dismissal has to stop. Based on our Commission’s recently approved legislation described above, there will now be consequences for breaking the law. It is our moral imperative as elected officials to provide for the safety of our residents to enjoy being anywhere in our City at any time without fear of becoming a victim of crime.
This Commission meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, December 8, with a 5:00 pm time certain for the items referenced above. You may attend in-person at City Hall or via Zoom (click here).
Please join me tonight, December 7, for my monthly Virtual Town Hall
Our Commission meets monthly for an all day meeting to set policy and pass legislation, such as the ones I am proposing in this newsletter. The night before each monthly Commission meeting I conduct a virtual Town Hall to discuss important items on the next day’s Commission agenda and issues of significance happening in our City.
Please click the image above to be directed to Zoom.
If I can help in any way, please reach out to me.
My cell phone is 786-810-8728 and my direct City email is StevenMeiner@MiamiBeachFL.gov.
Alternatively, you can contact my aide Amadeus Huff at 786-697-7763 or by email at AmadeusHuff@MiamiBeachFL.gov.
We are here to help.
Posted on 27 Dec 2021, 01:22 - Category: 2021