At my State of the City address, I spoke about the importance of community policing, the role it plays in keeping crime low, and crime is down 20-percent since 2007. Community policing also plays a critical role in creating trust between residents and the police.
Here in Orlando, our officers are involved in youth programming, like Dragon Boats and basketball leagues. Partnerships with our residents have led to our neighborhood watch program being nationally recognized.
But we have seen across the country where divides are forming between police and communities, where respect and trust between officers and residents is in jeopardy.
It is important that we take proactive measures to ensure that doesn’t happen here. Which is why at the State of the City, I charged Byron Brooks, to work with Police Chief John Mina to ensure our City maintains a world-class police force.
And while this effort is underway, last week, there was an incident related to the arrest of a man Downtown that if not handled appropriately could jeopardize that community trust, which is why we immediately launched an investigation. And just as we have done with other cases we have also asked a third party, FDLE to also investigate this incident.
I know some people want immediate answers but it is important that we allow for the investigation and discipline process to be complete, and we are committed to doing this a quickly as possible while maintaining the integrity of the process.
I know it’s a serious matter anytime our police officers need to use force. I hold the Orlando Police Department to the highest professional standards.
Our officers serve our community with compassion and courage – risking their lives for ours. It’s important we respect and honor them, and just as important is that we hold them accountable.
That’s why it is so important to ensure our community remains protected by the best police force in the nation, with the best officers in the country working with our residents, together to keep our community safe.
Chief Administrative Officer Byron Brookes and Chief Mina gave an update on the initiative and progress to date.
General Items of Note:
Commissioner Sheehan Celebrated 15 years of service at the City on June 1
Mayor Buddy Dyer personally recognized Commissioner Sheehan for her 15 years of service to the citizens of the City of Orlando. Our City is better because of her service and the result of your leadership throughout the years continues to benefit our City.
Teen Policy and Fire Academy
Mayor Dyer recognized Orlando teens Monday who are participating in our Teen Police and Fire Academy.
Mayor Dyer is proud that through youth programs like the Teen Policy and Fire Academy, our Parramore Kidz Zone, and After-School All-Stars programs that we as a City to continue to focus on providing education, mentorship, sports and recreation to connect our youth with opportunities to succeed.
Mayor Dyer thanked all the teens for being a part of this important program.
The City recently purchased seven foreclosed apartment complexes in the Lake Sunset, Clear Lake and Mercy Drive Neighborhoods that are vacant and boarded up – in an effort to transform the neighborhoods and provide safe and attractive housing. Since then, the City sold one of the properties, located along Orange Center Boulevard, to LIFT Orlando to construct new affordable and workforce housing.
On Monday, the City began seeking redevelopment proposals from organizations to build sustainable, quality housing for the remaining City-owned properties located along Cottage Hill Road and Mercy Drive. For more information, visit our City’s Real Estate website at city of Orlando.net.
OPD HQ Groundbreaking
Mayor Dyer invited everyone to join him and our Commissioners and Orlando Police Department to celebrate the groundbreaking of our new Orlando Police Department Headquarters on Thursday, June 25 at 10:30 am.
Expected to be completed in 2016, the new 96,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will improve department operations, utilize the latest technology and make the department more accessible to the community.
The new headquarters will not only further enhance our City’s safety, but will also help to spur development along the Orange Blossom Trail.
Mayor Dyer thanked City Commissioners, for your continued investment in public safety. Because of this, we continue to see crime reduced in our community. Overall crime City-wide is down for six of the last seven years, a 20-percent decrease since 2007.
Amtrak Ribbon Cutting
Keeping Orlando moving continues to be a priority for the City of Orlando. By providing multi-modal forms of transportation, we are able to offer those who live, work and play in Orlando options for getting around the City.
Part of this effort includes the City’s commitment to investing and improving current infrastructure. On Monday, June 29 at 11 a.m. we will celebrate the completion of our restoration of the historic Amtrak Station. This station was built in 1926 and continues to provide long distance rail service to approximately 160,550 passengers a year.
Mayor Dyer thanked Commissioner Sheehan for her leadership throughout this project.
HOLA/ Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Announcement
This Wednesday in the City Hall Rotunda, Mayor Dyer will join with District 2 City Commissioner Tony Ortiz and the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Executive Director Juan Hernandez-Mayoral to announce a partnership between our HOLA office and the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.
Since its inception in 2004, HOLA has offered bilingual services and referrals to more than 150,000 residents from the multicultural community.
With this new partnership we will be able to expand our service directly to Puerto Rican residents and families who are relocating to our region and need assistance from both agencies to provide a better transition for them here in our City.
Mayor Dyer thanked and recognized Commissioner Ortiz for his leadership in this effort.
Fireworks at the Fountain
The City of Orlando’s 38th annual Fireworks at the Fountain event is Saturday, July 4th at Lake Eola Park. This free, patriotic celebration begins at 4 p.m. and features live music on two stages including a performance by the Orlando Concert Band during the fireworks, a play area just for the kids, and food and beverage for purchase.
Our spectacular 20-minute fireworks display will begin at 9:10 p.m. For more information, visit CityofOrlando.net/fireworks.
Agenda Items of Note:
Parramore 10 Year Anniversary
This month marks the ten year anniversary of our Pathways for Parramore initiative. We have all worked together with the community to transform Parramore block-by-block and attract businesses and investment, increase housing, reduce crime and enhance programs for our children.
As a City, we have made great strides…but we still have more work to do together, and we have the benefit of our recently-completed Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan to serve as a guide as we continue pursuing the vision for a healthy and vibrant community while preserving and celebrating the heritage of Parramore.
There was an item on Monday’s agenda that will continue to further this effort and help support our local businesses and our youth through MEBA grant funding to the Little Kings and Queens Learning Center, a daycare on West Central Blvd in Parramore that prides itself in providing reliable and affordable daycare for nearby residents. With funding provided through the MEBA program, Little Kings and Queens will be able to make improvements to its building to better serve our Parramore youth.
Mayor’s Matching Grant
There were 19 Mayor’s Matching Grant projects on yesterday’s agenda. By funding these grants, the City of Orlando is able to support our neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations and schools to implement and provide programs that engage our City’s youth, improve education and address neighborhood needs. These projects involve hundreds of volunteers and will impact the lives of thousands of residents and youth throughout the City.
Representatives from some of these organizations and members of our grant selection panel were in Council yesterday. Mayor Dyer thanked them for their efforts and partnering with the City to make a meaningful, impactful in our community.
Orlando Science Center Agreement
Research shows that 60-percent of future jobs will require STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) skills that only 20-percent of the workforce currently possess. As Orlando grows as a technology hub, our students must develop better capabilities in STEM subjects to remain competitive. Orlando Science Center is a powerful resource for STEM education, teaching these subjects in hands-on ways that help youth develop essential skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration.
To meet the growing needs of our community, increase impact and create robust experiences, the Orlando Science Center has launched a multi-year fundraising effort.
This comprehensive campaign will raise $30 million to expand experiences and innovate exhibit content, increase access to under-served audiences, and ensure long-term sustainability for the organization. The Science Center has raised over $4 million to date. To support its efforts to become an even stronger resource, on Monday’s agenda is an investment form the City to the Science Center’s campaign to make capital improvements to the building.
QTI – SightPlan
SightPlan provides mobile and cloud-based software for multifamily real estate management companies to better administer its assets, resident services and site operations.
SightPlan is outgrowing its space in the Incubator…and needs to find a permanent location for its national headquarters and is considering locations in Downtown Orlando. SightPlan expects to create 28 new high wage jobs in the next three years.
On Monday’s agenda, Council considered a resolution to support the company’s growth through the state’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) program and the CRA’s High-Value High-Wage Program. These programs support our efforts to bring high quality jobs to Orlando and continue our goal of bringing more headquarters into Downtown.
Mayor Dyer recognized and thanked Joseph Westlake the CEO of SightPlan for his commitment to Orlando.