Miami-Dade, Broward officials express support for Dallas police

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - City leaders and law enforcement agencies in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are extending their condolences and prayers, Friday, to the people of Dallas.

Flags are at half-staff at the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, among other agencies, in memory of those officers who died as a result of the Dallas shooting, Thursday night.

Law enforcers’ badges across South Florida were covered by a black stripe with a thin blue line in the middle. “We mourn the loss of our brothers in blue from this horrific evil, this despicable and premeditated attack, and pray for their souls,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel as he addressed reporters, Friday afternoon.

Miami-Dade Police are also in a state of mourning, and Miami-Dade Police Director Juan J. Perez said they are going out on the streets and will continue to protect this community.

Perez sent a notice to his department when the news of the shooting in Dallas developed. In the notice, he recognized that this is an emotional time, and that it is important to not let their guard down. “I’m speechless. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” said Perez. “I can’t even imagine what that chief is going through right now.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez also spoke about the recent shooting. “This is a reminder of the sacrifices made by police officers in the line of duty every day,” he said.

Thursday night, over police scanners, Fort Lauderdale Police officers were warned to be on the lookout and be aware of their surroundings. “Do not sit out in the field writing reports. Avoid proactive enforcement on major roadways and be aware of any potential copycat scenarios by way of ambush and any such calls that would be responded to en masse,” said one officer over the scanners.

Miami-Dade Police are considering policy changes, Perez said, after what took place in Dallas, including making sure police have more protection during protests. “What occurred last night definitely has led to some other conversations overnight,” he said. “We slept very little last night, but we’ve had the conversations already, and there will be action on our part. I’m not going to discuss here because I’m not going to disclose tactics.”

No specific details of which policies would change have been released.

John Rivera, the president of the Police Benevolent Association in Dade County, said officers working in pairs to ensure their safety is ideal, but he mentioned staffing issues makes it almost impossible. “It falls on deaf ears until situations like this happen,” said Rivera. “I bet you Dallas now will increase police force, they’ll increase the equipment needed, but until some tragedy like that happens here, we probably won’t see it. We’ll continue to work short-handed, we’ll continue to have inferior equipment until tragedy happens.”

The Hollywood Police Department tweeted their support.

Coral Springs police also tweeted a similar message, saying they will pray for those lost in Dallas.

Addressing BSO deputies, Israel said he is committed to keeping his community safe. “I will not allow a divide in this community,” he said. “Always remember that you’re police officers. We protect, we serve, we’re color-blind. We don’t see race. We see American citizens.”

Rivera said he worries what happened in Dallas could happen in South Florida, saying the country is divided, and Miami-Dade Police officers feel the danger. “My men and women who are out on the streets, they feel it,” he said. “They can feel the vibe. They can feel the hatred. They can feel the pot bubbling.”

Many police officers and deputies took to social media, saying people should not judge them just because they wear a uniform.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.