Issue: Public Safety

The single highest priority of the Mayor is ensuring the safety of his or her citizens. This starts with first-class police, fire, & rescue. Check! That doesn’t mean we can’t do better, and we will. And it can start by taking active steps to improve the relations between our police force and minorities. We shouldn’t settle for anything less than a 100% approval rating from the citizens of our great city. Impossible? Maybe. But worthy of pursuit? Definitely. Community outreach, subconscious bias sensitivity training, de-escalation training, and more police on feet and bikes over squad cars.

“How are you going to keep us safe and protect us from mass shootings?”

The honest answer to this question is that we can’t protect you from mass shootings, but we can make sure we have a police force and a citizen force that is properly prepared for those situations so we can minimize the damage and neutralize the shooter at break-neck speeds.

This starts by making sure we’ve got the most vulnerable places for attack consistently connected to the police force. We start with public schools, then places of worship, and this means ALL places of worship. Mosques, Cathedrals, Mandiras, Churches, Temples, and Synagogues. We are a city that celebrates our diversity and protects all people regardless of their faith. Beyond that, we move to public centers like shopping malls and parks.

We should turn to our universities that have some of the brightest and most creative minds to develop real-time communication technology where any school faculty can, and even the student body can, by the press of a button – easily accessible, on their desk, their phones, and in the hallways – if when pressed, immediately alerts the police so they can start responding and know precisely where the point of attack is occurring based upon the item that was pressed for alert. This system could be integrated to immediately lock down portions of the buildings on the opposite sides of the attack to prevent the attackers from progressing into other rooms. The limits to what a protection system could do are limited only to our creativity, and the adherence to the constitution.

Protection through Innovation

New, innovative technology is available that can drastically reduce our response time for police and give them valuable intel which can aid in the capture of criminals. Take ShotSpotter: a gunfire detection technology that gathers data from a network of acoustic sensors placed throughout a city, filters the data through an algorithm to isolate the sound of gunfire, triangulates the location within about ten feet, then reports it directly to the police. The system is generally more accurate and more reliable than information gleaned from 911 callers.

If we would have had this technology deployed during the time of the Tampa serial killer, this could have enhanced our ability to track the killer, possibly resulting in less lives lost. Yes, it’s expensive. But when looking at the safety and well being of our citizens, we shouldn’t be looking for the lowest bidder.