Five months after the shooting of Michael Brown and the riots in Ferguson, MO, South Miami is being proactive in a move to train its police department in cultural diversity.
The South Miami Commission, at its Jan. 6 meeting, approved a resolution to spend $6,000 to “provide staff with a greater understanding of how to deal with different ethnic and racial groups as well as providing diversity and sensitivity awareness.”
“Police Chief Rene Landa suggested this as something he thought might be beneficial for our department so that our cops were more aware of cultural differences and have better empathy with some of the people they were policing who are culturally different than themselves,” said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard. “He doesn’t want any Ferguson in South Miami.”
Of the 50 staff members in the South Miami police department, 54 percent are Hispanic, 30 percent are white (non-Hispanic), and 12 percent are black or African American.
“We are always trying to create harmony between the police department and the neighborhoods they service,” Stoddard said.
The training will consist of five four-hour workshops in the last two weeks of January at South Miami Police Department. Training will be provided by Dr. Richard Holton & Associates, P.A. Holton is a retired lieutenant and a 30-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department.