Honoring Officer and Warrior Karen Long
Mayor Buddy Dyer began the City Council meeting by honoring Orlando Police Officers, Karen Long, who passed away last week.
Karen was not only a police officer, but she was also a family member. She served most recently as the District 4 Community Police Liaison and worked closely with Commissioner Sheehan.
Karen battled breast cancer like a warrior for many years. Karen is a solemn reminder of the importance of breast cancer awareness.
Mayor Dyer urged all Central Floridians to talk with friends and loved ones about the importance of breast cancer screening and early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
He offered his thoughts and prayers to the Long family, and to all of Karen’s friends and colleagues during this difficult time.
Awards and Presentations
Life Saving Award – Joel (Alex) Flores, OPD Explorer
The City of Orlando is proud of our many youth programs. One of those, the Orlando Police Explorer Program, was created more than 40 years ago to develop positive relationships between police and young people and offer youth an opportunity to learn about law enforcement through practical experience.
That experience came in handy for one of our Explorers, 14-year-old Joel Flores, whose training enabled him to save the life of his infant sister Jordyn-Grace.
Orlando Police Chief Mina presented Joel Flores with a medal for his courage.
Orlando City Clerk, Celeste Brown, gave an update on the upcoming municipal elections for the City of Orlando.
State of Downtown
On Thursday, October 22 at 3:30 p.m. Mayor Buddy Dyer will deliver my annual State of Downtown Address hosted by the Downtown Orlando Partnership at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Hear the latest on the City’s winning game plan for the continued revitalization of Downtown Orlando.
We are asking that all attendees bring an item that will assist the more than 600 men, women and children at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. For a list of items needed, to purchase tickets or for more information, visit doporlando.com.
If you are not able to attend, you can watch the Mayor’s address online by clicking here.
And speaking of Downtown, this past weekend our Downtown was alive and buzzing with activity.
Saturday Mayor Buddy Dyer participated in the Creative City Project where throughout Downtown, Orlando we had unique art, dance, music, theatrical and interactive performances taking place along Orange Avenue.
The Solar Bears hosted 9,366 fans, the second-largest attendance in franchise history, this past Saturday for their ECHL season opener at Amway Center.
And, the Latin Food and Wine Festival was held in Downtown Orlando for the first time this past Sunday and had over 20,000 in attendance experiencing Latin food, music and entertainment.
Items of Note:
Lake Druid Park
City Council mad an agreement with a volunteer group who will help us to maintain our first Mountain Bike Park.
The Mountain Bike Park is a part of our newest City Park – Lake Druid Park – which Commissioner Sheehan and Mayor Dyer will open later this month. Mayor Dyer invites everyone to join us on Saturday, October 31st at 10 a.m. for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new park will not only feature our first mountain bike park, but will also include a walking path, community garden plat, open space and a dog-friendly area.
Mayor Dyer recognized Commissioner Sheehan for her commitment to expanding our parks and green space throughout the City and helping to make this park a reality.
City Council considered a QTI resolution in support of the recruitment of a new U.S. headquarter operation to Orlando. The company, Cartrack, LLC, is a South African software provider for GPS vehicle tracking technology and fleet management. If selected, the Orlando facility would provide their first entry into the U.S. and create 120 new high wage-high value jobs.
Mayor Dyer wished Global CEO, Zak Calisto (Ca-lis-to), and the GM for North America Chris Ferreira (Fe-ray-a) the best of luck in their company’s entrance to the American market.
Best Foot Forward Funding
The City has been focused on increasing pedestrian safety throughout our community. An item on Monday’s agenda supported funding for our Best Foot Forward initiative, which supports us in these efforts.
Since Best Foot Forward launched in 2012, the City has improved more than 60 crosswalks, and community education and targeted enforcement has led to more than four times the amount of drivers yielding to pedestrians within the City.
Mayor Dyer is proud of the work the City has done with Best Foot Forward to prevent unnecessary pedestrian injuries and deaths and looks forward to continuing this effort.
Tenant Based Rental Assistance
Our region has been working to house chronically homeless individuals in permanent housing based on the national “Housing First” model. This approach provides housing and then surrounds the individual with needed supportive services including mental health counseling, treatment for addiction, basic medical care and the skills to manage their home.
To assist with housing costs, on Monday’s agenda $220,000 in HUD funding to be dedicated to tenant based rental assistance. This program will help individuals, with housing costs such as rent, utilities, utility deposits and security deposits.
Earlier this year, the City was able to purchase more than 700 apartment units in the greater Washington Shores area that were left uninhabitable by the previous owners. In an effort to transform these sites into safe and attractive housing for our residents, we partnered with LIFT Orlando to redevelop the site. As part of that agreement, the City is assisting with the demolition costs. The City is allocating CDBG dollars that will allow us to start moving forward with the demolition process.
Police #1 – Body Cams
One of the City’s top priorities is the safety of our community and working with our residents to keep our neighborhoods safe.
Over the last 10 years, we’ve made a significant investment in public safety, adding police officers and firefighters, investing in state-of-the-art technology and providing state of the art training. Thanks to all of these investments and our dedicated citizens and police force, crime is down 20% since 2007.
Over a year ago, we launched a study on the use of body-worn video cameras and results have shown that body cameras can be an important tool, providing critical evidence in solving crimes and assisting us to increase transparency and accountability within the police department.
In this year’s budget, we made the funding of body worn cameras a priority and on today’s agenda we will approve a $497,480 grant from the Department of Justice for the purchase and implementation of an additional 450 cameras which will equip all our first responders.
Mayor Dyer believes the implementation of body cameras will allow us to continue giving our residents the benefits of technology-based policing and continue to earn our citizen’s confidence and support as we together work to keep crime out of our community.