- Faith & Family
In a political landscape where well-heeled super-interests seem to have all of our elected officials’ attention, the thought of a regular citizen, an average Joe, persuading the mayor of a major city come to speak to a group of senior citizens seems to be the stuff of which blockbuster movies are made. But then Liberty City resident James Stubbs, given his commitment to his community, is no average Joe.
Stubbs, president of the Edison Towers Tenant Association in Liberty City, spent most of the past summer lobbying to get the mayor and the police chief to come speak to the residents and hear their concerns about escalating crime. Specifically, the residents wanted to press directly for the assignment of a permanent, full-time beat cop to patrol the stretch of NW 7th Avenue that runs between 54th and 62nd Streets.
“We’ve had quite a few robberies,” Stubbs said. A retired Miami police officer, Stubbs ran through a list of recent crimes that have affected the area: a bank heist, a stabbing at a bus stop, a smash-and-grab theft at a gas station and even the shooting of an off-duty police officer during a robbery — outside of his church.
Stubbs’ efforts were successful, in part, as Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado came to last week’s resident meeting at Edison Towers but not Police Chief Manuel Orosa (who had to cancel shortly before) to address those concerns. Regalado brought with him a few members of his staff and two police commanders in lieu of the chief (Commander Dana Carr from the Model City NET Office spoke with residents, too). The importance of the chief’s participation was simple: “Only the chief of police can authorize a beat cop assignment,” said Stubbs.
Regalado wasted little time in answering the biggest question of the evening.
“Yes! I will talk to the chief about the beat cop,” declared Regalado. “People are complaining about it and the police department is doing something about it. I guarantee to have more officers reassigned from desk jobs and more new hires will be deployed. In the next weeks, there will be more police visibility here.”
For people in attendance like Angela Kelly, Vice President of the Tacolcy Economic Development Corporation, the mayor’s guarantee was good to hear but, as she told Regalado, “it takes commitment.”
Kelly echoed what Stubbs had allud
ed to at the beginning of the meeting about allocation of resources. For example, the area formerly known as Wynwood and now dubbed the Midtown Design District has two beat cops around the clock.
“I don’t understand how other communities have beat cops and we don’t,” Kelly said. Regalado’s message and promise seemed to be what residents wanted to hear.
But does Regalado have confidence that Orosa will back up his pledge?
“I trust him,” Regalado said.
“So do I,” Stubbs echoed.
By José Pérez