Miramar, Florida – The City of Miramar and its Police Department have announced that they will hold a press conference on Monday, March 13, to declare that they have hired Broward County’s first social worker to assist with community policing.
The social worker’s role will be to handle situations that require a non-combat response to 911 calls. The position, which is the first of its kind in the county, has been created to collaborate with law enforcement in reducing tragic encounters by ensuring that trained crisis mental health professionals are available to work with them.
The conference will take place at 10 am on the City Hall Plaza in Miramar, and will be attended by Congresswomen Fredericka Wilson and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. The position will be funded by the Office of Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, the 1st Haitian American Democrat elected to Congress. Cherfilus-McCormick shared that the funding was included in the Federal 2023 budget, allowing Members of Congress to address the district’s most pressing issues directly.
Cherfilus-McCormick emphasized the need for trained crisis intervention programs for law enforcement, and said that her office requested funding for the City of Miramar – Public Safety and Mental Health Program to achieve this goal. She also noted that the city’s law enforcement is a cornerstone of public safety, and that their efforts must be improved throughout communities.
It is important to note that the social worker will not act as a police officer, and will not be the first to arrive on the scene. They will also have no authority to make arrests, and will not have access to a firearm. Their role will be to deescalate situations from a social service standpoint and recommend the appropriate course of action to prevent undue injury.
Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis stated that the addition of a police social worker will act as an additional tool in the police department’s toolbox. She believes that the social worker will help the Miramar Police Department handle calls related to mental health, substance abuse, and other social/domestic issues. The social worker is trained to deescalate situations from a social service standpoint and recommend the corrective course of action in an effort to prevent undue injury.
Interim Police Chief Dr. Jose Vargas expressed his excitement about the new Police Social Worker position, stating that he hopes it will enhance the Police Department’s relationship with the community.