A survey to ask residents what they think about the Wilton Manors Police Department may not happen after all.
The idea was discussed in August by the members of the Community Affairs Advisory Board [CAAB] and at subsequent meetings since. The volunteer board, made up of residents, said it believes the police department has a good relationship with residents but the survey would be utilized to find out if any problems exist. The recent flair up of anger and frustration in certain black communities directed at police is something CAAB wants to ensure that doesn’t happen in Wilton Manors.
“We don’t want a Ferguson to happen here. We don’t want an Overtown,” said CAAB member Tim Ross in August.
CAAB voted on whether to proceed with the survey at its Nov. 2 meeting but it was a 3-3 tie. Chair Michael Goodman was absent and unable to vote. But Goodman will be at the next CAAB meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, and he said he’ll be ready to cast the tie-breaking vote. The meeting is open to the public.
“I want a chance to talk with some other people in the city and I want to do a little research before voting. We’ll revisit it and make a decision that night. We’ll definitely come to a conclusion,” Goodman said.
CAAB member M.E. DePalma has already reached a conclusion. She was one of the members who voted against releasing the survey.
During Wicked Manors on Halloween, DePalma said she witnessed police officers interacting very positively with attendees. She said the police department already has a good relationship with residents and visitors. “I saw so many police officers walking and talking and greeting people. There was no distancing at all. I just don’t feel that it’s beneficial under the current circumstances in the city.”
She added that she would rather efforts be made to better highlight what the police are doing right. “I just felt that it was incendiary and unnecessary.”