Dignataries, hundreds celebrate opening of Miami Gardens City Hall

Mayor Gilbert opens the building with grand ceremony, speech

Erick Johnson | 6/4/2014, 3:36 p.m.
Miami Gardens mayor Oliver Gilbert opened the new city hall building Tuesday night with a grand ceremony and a state ...

Gilbert also highlighted the hiring of the city’s new police chief, Stephen Johnson in April. He also noted how the city’s crime rate has been reduced by 40 percent in the past year. However the mayor said more needs to be done to make the city safe.

In response to these needs, Gilbert noted the training of 20 new police officers, 18 of which live in the city. During their training, Gilbert said the new police officers were taught how to patrol streets in a gentle and professional way. The city's force came under fire earlier this year for its zero tolerance policy that included police allegedly harassing and arresting numerous customers for no reason at a convenience store less than a mile from Sun Life Stadium.

“Far too long, we have invested heavily in policing and little on prevention,” Gilbert said as crowds applauded.

But Gilbert also called on parents to discipline their children to create safer communities.

“The future rests in part on the ability of the parents to parent their children,” he said.

Gilbert also mentioned the success of the $60 million general obligation bond referendum which voters passed in April. The funds will help renovate and add culinary kitchens, science laboratories and visual arts centers to city parks, In addition, the money will help build a senior center and purchase surveillance devices to fight crime.

“The bond is a corrective measure that would place years of neglect in our parks,” Gilbert said.