Orlando Police Department 2016 Community Policing Assessment

1. Introduction 

Presented January 26, 2016 

The men and women of the Orlando Police Department are committed to providing the very best service possible, treating people with dignity and respect, and living up to our motto of “Courage, Pride, and Commitment.” Addressing crime while balancing individual rights and maintaining trust within our communities  is an enormous challenge for law enforcement agencies across the country. In order for the Orlando Police Department to maintain these balance between police, civil rights, and community engagement, we must continue working together in order to be successful in keeping all safe.  

The Orlando Police Department is dedicated to providing exceptional service to the citizens and employees through a problem-solving approach, emphasizing a commitment to excellence through teamwork. Police employees are selected, held to the highest standards, and are provided the best training and equipment available. The ultimate goal of our strenuous selection/training process is to give our employees the very best preparation to make sound, appropriate, and respectable decisions.  

On April 24, 2015, Mayor Buddy Dyer in his State of the City address said, “For this kind of community policing to work, there must be mutual respect and trust between officers and residence. We count on the support of our citizens, and we know our officers must earn your confidence.” 

At the Mayor’s direction, Chief Administrative Officer Byron Brooks and Police Chief John Mina began an assessment of the Orlando Police Department that addressed the following area.  

  1. Review of OPD Policies on Excessive Force and Related Policies
  2. Personnel Development
  3. Enhanced Transparency Measures
  4. Community Engagement
  5. Economic Development 

This report was created to give our citizens a view into what the Orlando Police Department is doing to show how we value integrity, trust, and professionalism: No law enforcement organization can function in the absence of such values. 

2. Policy Review 

Staff members reviewed the following policies, procedures, and mechanisms in place.  

  • Use of Force/Response to Resistance – Our staff reviewed all of our policies regarding use of force and response to resistance. The Department of Justice (DOJ) notes that police enforce social order through the legitimized use of force, which is the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject. The DOJ provided parameters on use of force by stated that police officers should use  only the amount of force necessary to control an incident, effect an arrest, or protect themselves  or others from harm or death. Thus, the DOJ definition establishes our standard of review. The staff reviewed the 2014 and 2015 Orlando Police Department Annual Response to Resistance Reports. The 2015 report found that OPD officers used force in only 3.5% of all arrests. The study also showed that our use of force incidents have reduced by 24% since 2012. Finally, it shows that  OPD officers use Pepper Spray or an Electronic Control Device  (Taser) in 65% of all response to resistance  incidents. Pepper Spray and Taser are techniques that are less likely to cause  injury as compared to strikes  and the use  of the police baton. So, although our  overall use of force is relatively low and has  been declining the past three years, the reports also showed that more than one third of the response to resistance incidents happened downtown. The vast majority of these incidents are related to intoxicated or inebriated people already engaged in fights and brawls. Our review revealed a strong correlation between higher use of force incidents and officers working late night downtown or Universal  Orlando. Accordingly, our opportunity for improvement is to enhance training and review our strategy for  interacting with these type crowds and individuals.

  • Treatment of Prisoners – This policy was reviewed and in light of the incident in Baltimore regarding Freddie Gray, we revised our language. We identified that OPD’s policy mandates that  officers are required to secure prisoners with a seatbelt  during transport, but that in the section about the prisoner transport van, this was not mentioned. The following language was added to the prisoner transport van section: All arrestees transported in the prisoner transport van or a caged vehicle will be strapped in by seatbelts or other authorized installed safety restraints for their own safety.

  • Pattern Identification – Staff completed a police review of our Early Intervention Program. OPD has a responsibility  to its employees and the community to identify and assist employees who show symptoms of job stress or personal problems. Such symptoms may be exhibited in on-the-job performance behavior that results in complaints from citizens or may be indicated in the frequency of response to resistance  incidents. The Orlando Police Department has existing programs available to assist  employees, including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and other counseling which is available to employees on a voluntary and policy-mandated basis. In order to enhance  these services, the Department has implemented the Early Intervention Program. One change was made to the reporting criteria: Claims, Litigations, or Lawsuits were added to the criteria. The following language was added to the policy under Three-Month Reporting Criteria: Involved in two or more claims, litigations, or lawsuits. Also, we corrected a computer glitch to ensure consistency in tracking and flagging multiple incidents.

  • Claims Trends – A thorough analysis  of OPD’s claims history occurred during this review period to determine if there were any trends related to training, policy or behavior. This review revealed no consistent or pervasive trends related to policy or training or techniques; but, there was a correlation between duty assignments and a relatively few number of officers who tended to be the subject of claims. Not surprisingly, those officers had  duty assignments in more active, high-contact areas. It is important to note that the mere filing of claims is not necessarily an indication of problems since any citizen who feels aggrieved can file a claim, and many are determined to be without merit. Nevertheless, OPD has taken certain action to attempt to address the revelations of this analysis with a goal of reducing the number of claims. Specifically, assignment rotation is being considered and the Early Intervention policy has been changed to identify any potential concerns. 

  • Racial Profiling/Bias Free Policing – This review confirmed that OPD has a model policy. It should be noted that Dr. Lorie Fridell, a national expert on racial profiling and former Director of Research at the Police Executive Research Forum, conducted Fair and Impartial Policing Training to the Chief’s Staff and members of the community. During the training, Dr. Fridell stated that our Bias-Free Policing policy is a model policy. 

  • Re-Accreditation – In August of 2015, the Orlando Police Department went through its 7th Re-Accreditation Cycle. Chief Mina specifically asked the assessors to “take a hard look at all of our policies related to Response  to Resistance, Early Intervention, Treatment of Prisoners, and Discipline to ensure that we are utilizing best practices.” On October 7, 2015, the Orlando Police Department was awarded its second Excelsior Accreditation status by the Commission for Florida  Law Enforcement. Our Department is one of only two police departments in Florida that has obtained a second Excelsior Aware from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement.  

3. Personnel Development 

  • Hiring Process – The Orlando Police Department will continue to recruit from diverse backgrounds that reflect the community we serve. Job fairs and recruiting trips will target diversity. Minorities and females account for 46.3% of the sworn officers at the Orlando Police Department. This figure is higher than many other agencies with similar demographics. With respect to minority composition of our workforce, we will continue efforts to ensure that the Department is representative of the community. 

    All applicants are given a psychological exam, which is reviewed and then discussed with a psychologist. Additionally, a complete and thorough background investigation is done, and each applicant must pass a polygraph test.

  • Academy Training – At the very state of each police career, the Training Unit at the Orlando  Police Department is involved. An experienced and high-qualified Orlando police officer is assigned to the Police Academy at the Valencia College Criminal Justice Institute as a coordinator. During the 700 hours of training, the coordinator makes  certain that each police recruit is given the attention they need and that they are fully committed to achieving  and maintaining the highest level of performance demanded  by the Orlando Police Department. Each officer must pass a comprehensive test required by the State of Florida to be a certified police officer. Once certified, they come to our agency and spend four weeks in orientation and another 14 weeks in the Field Training Officer (FTO) Program. Orientation exposes each recruit to the specific culture of our agency through training in our policies, defensive tactics, driving, shooting, and computer processes. The FTO Program requires each recruit  to operate as a police officer under the observation of our high-trained Field  Training officers. They are exposed to real-life policing. At the end of 14 weeks, the recruit becomes an officer and is released to solo patrol. 

  • Training – Our officers continue their training and have to maintain proficiency in driving, shooting, defensive tactics, CPR, First Aid, legal aspects, and how to professionally interact with people. The following training has already been completed with the exception of the Fair and Impartial Policing training, which will take place in 2016.  
  1. Ethics/Cultural Diversity – Officers receive ethics and cultural diversity training in the police academy. There is a proposal in our police academy to enhance the curriculum, which promotes values, attitudes, and behaviors that strengthen police legitimacy. All sworn officers also receive ethics and cultural diversity training every two years. In 2014, all sworn officers received this training and will receive it again in 2016. 
  2. Implicit Bias – All sworn officers received training and were tested on our Bias-Free Policing policy. Selected officers attended Conversations on Race and Procedurally Just Policing, both offered at the Criminal Justice Institute. 
  3. Handcuffed Detainees – All officers participated in handcuffing training in 2015. Additionally, officers received specific training on dealing with handcuffed prisoners. 
  4. De-escalation and Assessment During Resistance – All officers participated in training related to response to resistance, excessive force. The training included techniques and tactics to assess and de-escalate during these incidents. 
  5. Alternatives to Arrest – Officers attended training in alternatives to arrest in certain situations. 
  6. Shoot/No-Shoot Decision-Based Training – All officers attended shoot/no shoot decision-based training. Additionally, we are researching training simulators and will use asset forfeiture funds to pay for a state-of-the-art simulator in the new training facility. 
  7. Fair and Impartial Policing – All officers will receive training and be tested on Bias-Free Policing policies in 2016. A Train-the-Trainer class for Fair and Impartial Policing is being conducted on May 18, 2016. 
  8. Badge of Honor – All officers received training from two officers who were involved in excessive force cases and realized their mistakes and the possible repercussions. 
  9. Ethics and Civil Rights Training Conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – This training was given by Special Agents from the FBI and is complete. 
  10. U.S. Department of Justice Online Training – Officers also completed online training offered by the Department of Justice regarding ethics. 
  11. Procedurally Just Policing – Selected officers have attended this training and we will continue to send officers to the Criminal Justice Institute for this training. Procedurally Just Policing training is designed to help our police officers acquire the values and behaviors necessary to improve the quality of interpersonal interactions, thus strengthening police-community relations. 

4. Transparency  

The following actions are completed or in progress 

  • Body Cameras – 50 body-worn cameras have been deployed for 22 months. A  one-year study with the University of South Florida revealed that use  of force, citizen complaints, injuries to officers, and injuries to suspects were all reduced. The Orlando Police Department received a federal grant in the amount of $497,480.00 to purchase body cameras, which will enable us to outfit all 500+ patrol  officers with the device. We are  waiting on the Justice Department to review  and approve our body-worn camera policy per the grant requirement. We have started the procurement process. Implementation will take place over the next two to three years and we plan to outfit all first responders (approximately 500 officers) with body-worn cameras. 

  • Disciplinary Actions – Four officers have been terminated this year for incidents related to excessive  force. Officers have reviewed several communications from the Chief of Police, in person, via video and email, and in Written Directive 15-01 advising that  excessive force would not be tolerated and that the discipline could lead to termination. 

  • Outside Agency Investigations and Coordination (State Attorney and FDLE) - FDLE investigates ALL officer-involved shootings, regardless of whether a suspect is injured by gunfire. Our policy has  been updated to reflect this change. All shootings are also reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office. If it is determined that force used may have been excessive and could be criminal in nature, those  cases will be sent to the State Attorney’s Office for further review. Finally all internal investigations regarding excessive force are further reviewed by the Citizen Review Board (CRB). The  CRB can ask to see new evidence  in these cases and can make policy recommendations. The Orlando Police Department has had a Citizen Review Board for over 20 years, and recently, the Tampa Police Department sent their members to observe and record the CRB meetings to use as a model for their newly-developed Citizen Review Board.

  • Internal Affairs Process – The discipline process and policies were reviewed by outside assessors. Assessors concluded that  we had good policies and were using the best practices. In addition, Internal Affairs cases involving use of force and police conduct toward citizens are presented to the Citizens’ Review Board which is a panel of 9 members from the community. The CRB can ask for clarifications  or ask for new evidence to be reviewed. The CRB can also recommend policy changes. 

  • White House Police Data Initiative – The Police Data Initiative, a White House program aimed at making more data about police activity available to the public, was developed and will be implemented on January 27, 2016. Citizens will be able to access data on crime, use of force, and domestic violence. 

    The goal of the Open Data & Policing Initiative is to establish a community of practice that will enable and accelerate policing open data efforts that provide information to local communities about policy/community interactions through data sets that are timely, structured, machine-readable, and disaggregated (I.e., reported at the incident or case-level), while ensuring privacy  and security.

    In an effort to improve internal accountability in police departments, the initiative is also promoting the employment of early warning systems that can identify patterns of abuse or misconduct among police officers. The University of Chicago will work with several police departments in a 14-week project starting in late May that seeks to develop a data analysis took to identify patterns characteristic of police misconduct. 

    These efforts and many others are all part of the Police Data Initiative and follow the lead of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, a larger program launched by President Obama last year that is designed to mend and strengthen the relationship between the public and the nation’s police forces. 

    Selected agencies have already demonstrated an initial level of innovation around data transparency, and are asked to commit to the following: 
    Public release of at least three of the following disaggregated data sets, in a way that is machine-readable and sustainable: 
    - Crime incidents and arrest reports
    - Use of force by type
    - Officer-involved shootings
    - Assaults on officers
    - Resisting arrest
    - Community meetings attended by officers
    - Field interrogations
    - Pedestrian and motor vehicle stops
    - Stop and frisk
    - Body/dashboard camera metadata
    - Body/dashboard camera video

    Ultimately, this effort aims to help improve police/community relations through the related  goals of:
    - Demonstrating the value open data efforts can contribute toward  building and sustaining public trust 
    - Normalizing the way in which certain data sets are reported across departments, allowing for more  equitable benchmarkingUnder 
    - Developing  a playbook of best practices and resources that  will enable interested department to address challenges they face in establishing a culture  of openness and transparency within their agency, no matter their initial resource level 
    - Providing improved services to citizens who desire more timely and accurate information about their local law enforcement agency. 

  • UCF Study on Use of Force – In October of 2015, Professor Eugene Paoline from the University of Central Florida was contracted to do a study on the use of force at the Orlando Police Department. The scope of the study will examine the scope and nature of the force used by OPD over the past 5 years and identify any issues or trends with respect to our practices. The study will be completed in the spring of 2016. 

  • UCF Study on Officer/Citizen Interactions – The University of Central Florida is pursuing a grant to partner with the Orlando Police Department to conduct a study on citizen contact  with police officers. If  UCF receives funding for the project, graduate students will ride along with police officers on patrol and study the interactions between police officers and citizen in non-arrest type situations.  

5. Community Engagement 

The Orlando Police Department has  a rich history of community engagement and enjoys the collaborative relationship it has developed with the local community. Detailed below are the efforts and activities conducted by OPD in relation to those recommendations. In particular, OPD has focused  intensely on community policing and crime  reduction. This  is extremely important in our effort to reduce crime and build public trust. The Orlando Police Department actively promotes strategies that support community partnerships and proactively  implements techniques to address the issues of fear of crime, social disorder, and crime rates. Like many other cities throughout the nation, Orlando has seen a decrease in overall crime rates over the past several years. In an effort to continue this trend, and further reduce both property and violence crime in all segments of the population,  OPD has implemented strategies to concentrate efforts in intervention and prevention.  

One of the problems OPD is addressing is how best to decrease crime and the fear of crime within those communities that are no experiencing the same  overall reduction in crime seen Citywide. There  are neighborhoods within Orlando that are still troubled by a higher crime rate than the rest of the City. Fear of crime is increased in these communities, and social disorder is of concern. OPD has implemented a multi-part, community policing-focused strategy to address this issue. The goal of this strategy is to improve community relations and build trust through community engagement. One  objective of this goal is to hold community engagement events to identify problems, improve transparency,  build trust, foster better  relationships, and improve community outcomes.  

  • Youth Activities – Dueling Dragons, OPD “Reel” Heroes, Operation Positive Direction, Ballin’ After Dark, Teen Police Academy, Beautiful Feet Ball, and Yoga for Young Women. These are all mentoring activities for the youth in our community. 

  • Senior Activities – Senior Citizens  Police Academy, Adopt a Senior Program, Senior Safety Program, Identity Theft Program, Scam Protection Program. 

  • Neighborhood Programs – Summer Safety Series,  Neighborhood Watch Program, National Night Out. 

  • Chief's Community Leadership Program – This was a citizen police academy specifically designed to talk about response to resistance, discipline, and community relations, and to help build trust and legitimacy in the wake  of some national incidents involving the police. Media outlets were invited to attend. 

  • Citizen Police Academy – The CPA is offered to anyone. The class  ranges from seven to 14 weeks (depending on optional class tours), and is held one night a week at the Orlando Police Training Facility. The class covers topics such as crime prevention, crime scenarios, homicide, body camera presentation, law, internal affairs, and response to resistance. 

  • Teen Police Academy – This academy is designed  to foster relationships between the police and youth in the community. In 2015, 46 teenagers graduated. 

  • Community Forums – We hosted or attended over 20 different  community forums where we discussed excessive force cases, racial profiling, and our plans for body-worn cameras. Some of the hosts for the forums were  FAMU Law School, local and stated  elected officials, the Orlando Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, we met  with the Urban League, the NAACP, AACCC, Organize Now, and Occupy the Hood. In those meetings, we discussed the same topics, as well as police/community relations in the United States and in the City of Orlando. We have also recently engaged with the leaders of our Muslim community. We have four Mosques in the City of Orlando, and we have met and communicated with all of their Imams. We  have been asked to give classes to the Muslim community regarding safety and security, as well as racial profiling. 

  • Teen Community Forums – The Orlando Police Department, in partnership with Frontline Outreach and Ehap Inc. (Everything Has A Price), hosted four Teen Community Forums. The purpose of these forums  was to have open dialogue and discussion about police encounters. Officers and teenagers role-played different scenarios to include traffic stops and suspicious person stops. After the role-play sessions, there was dialogue  and a question and answer session. Teenagers were also advised  of what rights they have during police encounters. Racial profiling and body cameras were also discussed. 

  • Park/Walk/Talk - This initiative was implemented  in an effort to promote non-enforcement interactions and contact with residents and business owners in the City of Orlando. Officers were encouraged to park their cars and conduct foot patrol in their areas of assignment. Additionally, they were asked to spark up conversations with residents and business owners. 

  • Touch the Life of a Child – Officers were encouraged by the Chief of Police to “touch the life of a child” at some point during each shift. It was recommended that our police officers have impromptu conversations and non-enforcement contact with our youth. Many officers have embraced this initiative and use a portion of their shift specifically for this purpose. 

  • Responsibility Matters Program – The Orlando Police Department partnered with Orange  County Public Schools to teach high school students  in the City of Orlando about their rights and responsibilities when interacting with law enforcement. 

  • Orlando Speaks – The Orlando Police Department, the City of Orlando, and the Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute have partnered together on an interactive workshop designed to strengthen relationships and trust between officers and residents called Orlando Speaks. Two sessions were held, and another is scheduled for February. The first two sessions were very successful. Each session included 30-40 police officers and 60-70 citizens. 

  • Coffee with a Cop – Coffee with a Cop  provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the Department’s work in Orlando’s neighborhoods. The majority of contact law enforcement has with the public happens during emergencies or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for building relationships with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction. We have hosted three  events and plan to do one every four to six weeks.  

All  of these  efforts demonstrate how the Orlando Police Department is actively building positive relationships with the community. Early indicators reveal that these meetings, forums, and youth-focused events are giving officers a better understanding of the culture and quality of life  issues of the community they serve. At the same time, residents are being helped to understand police processes, roles, and functions.  

Additionally, since our review  started, recommendations from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century  Policing were released to the public. Although, the Orlando Police Department had already implemented over 90% of these recommendations, we are very open to new  ideas. As an example, one of the recommendations was to establish search and seizure procedures related to the LGBTQ and transgender populations. The Orlando Police Department thought this was an excellent recommendation and addressed this in a new policy.  

The Orlando Police Department increased its use of social media to promote and communicate with the community. In just under six months, we increased our Twitter followers from 2,000 to over 104,000. We  have also increased our Facebook footprint. One of our stories about an Orlando Police Department  giving presents to a child with cancer had over 350,000 views.  

In an effort to promote some of our community events and improve communication with the younger African-American community, the Orlando Police Department contracted the services of Tremaine Gaines of T. Gaines Entertainment. Mr. Gaines has been present for and consulted on several of our community events, and is assisting with specific activities to enhance police relations with this group.  

In addition to the extensive community outreach and engagement efforts conducted by OPD, other City departments, specifically the Families, Parks and Recreation Department, HOLA and the Community and Neighborhood Services Office are very active and have established programs and valuable relationships with youth, families, neighborhood associations, seniors, etc., all resulting in a stronger, safer community. The following is a partial listing of various programs and activities conducted by these other departments, some of which OPD is an active participant.  

The Mayor’s Council of Clergy is a group of faith leaders with congregations locations in the City of Orlando or in adjacent communities. Since 2011, the Mayor has met with them twice a year on a variety of City priorities and topical issues. The OPD Chief and deputy chiefs often provide public safety updates and gain community insights from the faith leaders. Up to 115 faith leaders have attended Council of Clergy meetings, with the average attendance being about 60. The total number of faith leaders on the Mayor’s Council of  Clergy list is more than 300.  

Mayor Dyer also updates the senior community on public safety and addresses their concerns during his Dessert and Discussions with Seniors, which are held periodically throughout the year. This year, the Mayor, Police Chief and Fire  Chief visited four senior residential facilities and has engaged more than 240 seniors  in dialogue (focused on public safety).  

The Hispanic Office for Local Assistance (HOLA) is permanently engaged with the Orlando Police Department staff to help provide  information, resources, training, and civic engagement. The following are some of the projects they have done, and continue to be in place:  

  1. Three Kings Day celebration at Jackson Middle School - held annually in January, this  event supports  families with children in need. The Orlando Police Department and Fire Departments play a key role in this event bringing their services such as SWAT, K-9, Mounted Police, fire engines. 

  2. ID Theft training for members of the Working Together Coalition – March 2015

    This training was offered  at the Primrose Plaza building, hosted by HOLA. Due to the high number of ID theft victims  in the Hispanic community, the training was offered in Spanish to bring awareness and education on multiple forms of scams, victim protection, and reporting. Over 40 guests attended  representing a number of Community Based Organizations and small businesses to hear from various OPD speakers. The event  was a total success, and the HOLA office is exploring hosting additional. 

  3. District 2 National Night Out  - July 2015

    NNO District 2 is held every year at the Sedano’s Supermarket parking lot. The HOLA  office  provided the initial contact with the company’s representative in order to help secure the partnership. The HOLA office also helps register business/vendors that exhibit during the event. We  also do extensive promotion in District 2, which has yielded extraordinary success, with approximately 300 people in attendance. As an OPD signature event, it provides awareness and education, builds rapport, and strengthens relations and access. It is well established among the community, and positive feedback  is always received from exhibitors. 

  4. Appearances with OPD staff at the local radio show Malula Con la Comunidad, La Vos 1440 AM Radio - March 2015, July 2014

    We have appeared on Malula Con la Comunidad radio show multiple times to promote both the ID Theft training as well as National Night Out. We have also had the opportunity to talk about the main roles of OPD, how residents can engage through the Neighborhood Watch and the Citizen Academy. These are done in Spanish with OPD bilingual staff. 

  5. As part of HOLA’s main mission to inform and refer, the OPD Neighborhood Watch material is kept on site for clients to access. It is also showcased at events we attend, such as the annual Hispanic Business and Consumer Expo.  

Thanks to these initiatives, many collaborators have shown interest in partnering with the City of Orlando through the HOLA office to keep the community engaged, informed and safe. Many of these are done in Spanish, such as the live radio programs, due to limited  English proficiency in some groups, and by request.  

Families, Parks and Recreation’s work aims to “move the needle” on academic achievement, employment and juvenile arrests among Orlando youth. Their efforts include:  

  • Parramore Kidz  Zone (PKZ). Successful replication of Harlem Children’s Zone’s cradle-to-career model in Orlando’s most disadvantaged neighborhood. PKZ serves 2,000 children and young adults from birth to age 24 who reside in the City’s Parramore Heritage Neighborhood. PKZ invests in evidence-based children’s programs offered by a coalition of partner organizations, including after-school programs, parenting educations, tutoring, college access assistance, and youth employment. Data shows that PKZ is “moving the needle” on juvenile arrests, teen births and academic performance in the neighborhood. The number of Parramore children enrolled in early learning programs has risen 215% since PKZ was launched; teen births have declined 49%; juvenile arrests are down from 613 in 2006 to 226 in 2013; verified reports of family violence are down 45%; math and reading scores have increased dramatically; and by last fiscal year, 52 Parramore youth were attending college and then spring, all 30 PKZ high school seniors successfully graduated from high school and enrolled in college. PKZ has been featured in national publications including Needle-Moving Collaboratives, Case Study: Parramore issued by the Bridgespan Group as part of the White House Council on Community Solutions, and Parramore, Orlando: Leveraging Local Strengths, a case study released by the America’s Promise Alliance, Center for Promise. 

  • Orlando After-School All-Stars (ASAS). Operation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers at all City middle schools. ASAS serves approximately 2,500 middle school students year-round at all middle school  in the City. The program employs teachers after school and throughout the summer to extend learning into after-school  hours, helping struggling students catch up. Data shows that participation in ASAS increases student academic achievement and school attendance white reducing student behavioral problems and juvenile  crime at the middle school sties in which it operates. Last year, participants showed increases in average GPA (+.7), achievement of a 2.0 GPA or higher (+23%), a 3.0 GPA or  higher (+17%), a 4.0 GPA (+13%), FCAT reading scores of 3 or higher (+21%), FCAT math scores of 3 or higher (+23%), percentage of students missing 3 school days of less (+15%) and 8th grade graduation rate (+23%). At the same time, school suspensions (-93%), expulsions  (-93%) and arrests (-100%) all declined. 

  • Recreation Centers. After-school and summer programs, including targeted efforts to reduce juvenile crime and improve academic performance of children residing in the surrounding neighborhoods. The City’s Recreation Division served about 7,300 children last year through a combination of after-school and summer camp programs; sports teams; enrichment programs such as violin lessons, karate, swim lessons, and pottery; and safe, supervised places for teenagers to hang out when they’re not in school. As an example, of one of the effective academic enrichment programs operated by FPR’s recreation centers, Orange County Public Schools deploys teachers to targeted FPR recreation centers every summer to prevent summer learning loss among elementary school-aged  children in our summer camps. Last summer, 1,277 children spent 82,957 minutes reading 18,828 books at eight City recreation centers; 63% of participating children increased their reading scores, with an average 64 point increase. 

  • Orlando Partnership for School Success O-PASS/Operation AmeriCorps. Deployment of AmeriCorps members to schools and after-school sites to improve student academic performance. FPR operates two AmeriCorps programs that together deploy 100 AmeriCorps members to school and after-school sites to expand academic and social supports for at-risk youth throughout the City. Data shows that the program is improving academic performance of participating youth: This past year, the O-PASS program served over 1,200 students, with 80% of them increasing their performance in math, reading and attendance. 

  • My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Orlando.  Targeted efforts to address challenges facing  Orlando’s black boys and young men. Recently launched, MBK Orlando aims to promote educational attainment and employment, and reduce crime among black boys and young men (BBYM) in Orlando. Key strategies include operation of an MBK Orlando youth advisory board; expanded access to mentoring; bolstering and scaling up youth development programs aimed at preventing juvenile crime; building the relationship between youth law enforcement officers; “moving the need” on academic performance of BBYM from early childhood through post-secondary education; and expanding employment opportunities for BBYM. 

  • Youth Employment. The City of Orlando Operates a unique youth employment initiative aimed at providing individuals ages 14-24 enriching and constructive work experiences. The initiative is credited with employing more than 500 youth in numerous programs City-wide. The program includes placement of 80 Parramore youth  in jobs such as counselors, childcare workers, office clerks, athletic coaches and teaching assistants; placement of hundreds of youth to staff summer and after-school programs at City recreation center and middle schools; and an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA program through which 14 Summer Associates, all youth from the City’s lowest  income neighborhoods, work at sites throughout Orlando. 

  • Health and Wellness. Awarded “First Place” designation as par of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” Campaign. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s  Move! Campaign aims to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation. While more than 300 cities have signed up to the campaign, Orlando is one of only 11 that share the “First Place” designation. Activities FPR does prevent childhood obesity include: 
    - Keeping children physically active. Last year, more than 3,000 children participated in the FPR’s sports leagues, including football, cheerleading, basketball, and baseball.
    - Promoting children’s health eating. In collaboration with Green Works Orlando and Cities of Service, FPR operates a community gardening program for children at recreation centers throughout the City. In addition, last year, FPR offered health eating classes to about 2,500 children  via various programs including weekly nutrition classes at the Engelwood Neighborhood Center and health cooking demonstrations by Universal Orlando chefs whose Food Truck visited ASAS after school and summer camp sites.
    - FPR feeds about 4,000 children healthy meals every day year round via the federally-funded after-school and summer meals program. In fact, since we launched Florida’s first after-school feeding program in the fall of 2013, FPR has served over 650,000 meals to children after school at all City recreation centers, After-School All-Stars sites, and multiple sites in the Parramore Heritage Neighborhood as part of PKZ.   

6. Economic and Community Development 

The City of Orlando created a number of programs specifically intended to address past disparities in business opportunities and to facilitate job create city-wide and in targeted neighborhoods.  

  • Blueprint

The purpose of the Blueprint was  to assist in the development and support of local, small  and historically disadvantaged businesses and area residents obtain opportunities associated with the construction of the Community Venues.  

The three Venues combined for more than $460 million in contract awards. 269 contracts went to local businesses – several with multiple contract awards. Over $227 million in contract awards went to 305 MWBE firms  with 100+ having multiple contract awards. Also, an important component of the Blueprint was the local workforce employment initiative that provided workers  for Venues construction and other employment opportunities. Here are a few of the program accomplishments:  

  • 15,000+ local residents connected to employment
  • 3,200 Direct BLUEPRINT referrals
  • 700 completed BP training classes
  • 60% of the 15,000 workers  on the community venues projects were minorities, 41% Hispanic and 19% African American
  • 2% of the 15,000 workers were women  

Of the 3,200 direct BLUEPRINT referrals, 1,400 Blueprint registrants were placed in jobs on the Community Venues project.  

  • 26 were apprentices
  • 81% were minorities
  • 53% were from the target population
  • 9% were women 

Ex-Offender Placements 

  • 34% (1,108) of the total (3,200) placement were Ex-offenders
  • 785 (71%) of the Ex-offenders placed in jobs resided in the zip codes that include: Parramore, Pine Hills, OrlaVista, Metro West, Downtown and Holden Heights.  

1,700 additional BLUEPRINT registrants were placed  in jobs with non-venues related local employers in various industries (including hospitality, food and beverage, retail, manufacturing, and call centers) 

  • 47% were from the target population
  • 54% were minorities
  • 12% were women 

Geographic Location of Placements 

  • Of the 3,200 total placements, 1,629 (51%) resided  in the zip codes containing Parramore, Pine Hills, OrlaVista, Metro West, Downtown and Holden Heights.  

700 BLUEPRINT registrants participated in training opportunities.  

  • 51% were from the target population
  • 93% were minorities
  • 59%  were women 

The training included:  

  • Job Readiness Workshops, TABE Preparation and Computer Training
  • Preconstruction and OSHA 10 by LIUNA Local 517 Preconstruction and OSHA 10
  • Low Voltage Cable, Wastewater Management and Security Guard 

  • Medical Pathways – Orlando Medical Careers Partnerships (OMCP) 

The Orlando Medical Careers Partnership is  a coalition between the City, Nemours, UCF, Valencia College, Orlando Health and other community organizations. The goal is  to ensure residences, especially those from the Parramore neighborhood, have access to employment and educational opportunities leading to employment in the Health Care Industry.  

OMCP’s first program is the Nursing Project: an ambitious two-year LPN/RN program at Orlando Tech and Valencia College:  

  • 8 of 10 students inducted into National Technical Honor Society
  • 10 students are Licensed Practical Nurses
  • 10 students enrolled in Valencia’s Advanced Standing Nursing Program
  • 2016 – January is the Anticipated Graduation Date 

Class Demographics: 4 members from the target neighborhood. Ethnicity breakdown – African American – 5; Hispanic – 2; Caucasian – 1; Females – 9; Male – 1.  

  • Medical Pathways – Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity & Excellence (SSTRIDE) 

This was a collaboration between the City and Florida  State University to enhance science  education and achievement at Memorial Middle  School (MMS) and Jones High School (JHS).  

The students participate in a school based class calculated to improve their competencies in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The program has 36 students.  

  • 100% (36) of the JHS students passed the 2014 Biology End of Course Exam
  • 2.93 Avg GPA in all subjects for JHS students, up from last year’s 2.63
  • 2.58 Avg GPA for JHS students in math, up from last year’s 1.73
  • 2.86 Avg GPA in science for JHS students,  up from last year’s 2.73
  • 55% of JHS students  made SSTRIDE Honor Roll with Avg GPAs  greater than 3.0
  • 80% of MMS students (11) made SSTRIDE Honor Roll – Avg GPAs greater than 3.0
  • 83% Retention rate since program‘s inception 

  • STEM support at OC and Rock Lake Elementary Schools 

The City provided a two-year  grant to Orange County Public Schools to fun a 2 year science  class at Rock Lake and Orange Center Elementary Schools:  

  • 275 Students  in grade K – 3rd benefit from STEM teacher hiring
  • Student FCTA scores increased  from 22% to 51% on the Spring FCAT test. Program participant scores were greater than the District average for the last year
  • 3rd Place rank on 2014-2015 Science Final Benchmark Test – scored higher or equal to 62 OCPS elementary schools 

The program has been extended and funded by OCPS until June 2016.  

  • Washington Shores Vision Plan 

The City of Orlando’s Community Planning Studio teamed with the Washington Shores Vision Task Force to shape a vision for the west  Orlando neighborhood. It is hoped that this work will yield greater predictability by establishing regulatory authority over future development proposals, while focusing the city’s efforts  to improve the infrastructure of the  area.  

  • Businesses within the community may (or have) worked with EDV Business Development staff to build and  improve businesses  within the Plan area. The City participated financially in the creation of the Village Square w/ Hope Church. The former Wilcox Mall building is intended for use  as a de facto business incubator for the Washington Shores area. The $2.2m renovation 31 potential business locations insides and includes a new streetscape along Goldwyn  Ave. Currently there are 29 businesses operating in this location. 
  • In addition, the City provided Urban Enterprise Zone Tax Credits  in association with the development of the Walmart Neighborhood Market at the intersection of S. John Young Parkway. The opening of the Washington Shores Neighborhood Market took advantage of Enterprise Zone tax credits. This project has resulted in 190 full and part-time jobs  at this store.  

  • Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan 

The Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan was developed as part of a US  HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. The  planning grant funds were passed to the City of Orlando with special emphasis on promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, particularly in minority and/or low-income neighborhoods adjacent to several of the SunRail stations.  

  • The City conducted 10+ neighborhood action team meetings and over 700 residents participated between December 2013 and January 2015. 
  • Implement a housing strategy focused on the former Wells Landing/Parramore Village site (RFP issued on 10/6/15 for a maximum of 242 units); catalytic sites near the MLS stadium; and infill  residential development around the Parramore K-8 Community School
  • Additional infill housing redevelopment  opportunities includes a request for proposals for 9 to 11 affordable single  family redevelopment  sites in the McFall area by the end of 2016. 
  • Explore and where appropriate pursue HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant funds for housing and associated community development projects. 
  • Explore programmatic business development strategies including expansion of Main Street program, and establishment of small business incubator in partnership with UCF and/or other community partners with 2 years.  

  • Semoran Vision Plan 

The Semoran Boulevard Vision Plan was developed in 2010 with the goal  of developing design standards to assist in created a unified land use, urban design, signage, landscaping, and parking lot landscaping vision for the area.  

  • The Plan led to the adoption of the Semoran Boulevard Special Plan Overlay District by the Orlando City Council on April 25, 2011 and the Semoran Gateway Special Plan – which addressed land uses between Curry Ford Road and McCoy Road – was adopted by City Council on February 10, 2014.  
  • The City also created the first Market Street District for the Semoran corridor in 2013 in partnerships with the Semoran Business Partnerships. 
  • The City continues to work with the Partnership to build the capacity of businesses in the corridor through visual improvements, coordinated marketing and other community projects. 
  • To date, they have  sponsored several major events, developed a partnership with OPD and the OCSO, and raised $10,000  in funding to provide CPTED training for businesses in the partnership.  

  • CRA Façade Grant Program  

The Downtown Façade & Building Stabilization Program grants between $5,000 and $40,000 for improvements to buildings within the Downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Area. There were seven (7) grants provided to businesses west of I-4 committing more than $194,000 with more than $132,000 paid  out over the past 12 years.  

  • MEBA Program 

The Minority/Women Entrepreneur Business Assistance (MEBA) Program is a small business assistance program that was established to retain existing minority-owned businesses located within the Target Area, and the attract new minority-owned businesses to this area. To date, 15 businesses have been assisted and over $500,000 have been invested.  

  • Job Creation via City Public Works projects 

During the fiscal year 2013/14, City of Orlando construction contracting created 4,629 jobs: 1,402 went to Orange County residents, with 387 being residents of the City of Orlando. The breakdown per commission district is as follows:  

District 1  - 27 
District 2 – 40 
District 3 – 58 
District 4 – 57 
District 5 – 158 
District 6 – 106 

7. Conclusion 

This assessment, while very comprehensive, will be a continuous process  because the goal of the City and the Orlando Police Department is to have on eof the best law enforcement agencies in the nation. Accordingly, this requires constant review and evaluation of our performance and seeking community feedback to ensure we are meeting their expectations as well. As we know, we can only achieve the objective of maintaining order and having a safe community if residents and law enforcement are working together from a place of mutual trust and respect.  

During the course of this assessment, we decided to address any deficiencies and opportunities as we discovered them rather than hold on taking action until the end of the assessment. In essence, the City of Orlando has chosen action rather than hand wringing. The actions that have been taken were highlighted in the body of this report and covered in the OPD Year-end Report.  

Among some of our next steps will be the following:  

  • Research de-escalation programs/training that have been reported as achieving very positive results, like the program  in Richmond, Virginia, to determine applicability.  
  • Consider language in the use of force policy to ensure the duty to intervene of any witnessing officers is defined. 
  • Evaluate our utilization of mental health professionals and organizations to assist with training of our first responders and if there is a role they can safely perform in assisting with on-scene incidences. 
  • Continue our community engagement and determine effective  strategies to increase our social medial presence to help reach more citizens with a particular focus on reaching communities that may have trust  issues with law enforcement. 
  • Continue our recruitment efforts to ensure the OPD workforce is representative of the community. 
  • Review the frequency of providing training in areas such as cultural awareness and implicit bias. 
  • Participating with the recently formed “After hours Nightclubs Task Force”, identify appropriate strategies and procedures regarding law enforcement’s role to ensure a safe, active entertaining economy in downtown, and in other distinct late-night entertainment  areas. 
  • Continue to be responsive to the Citizen Review Board, an independent citizen group that reviews complains and investigations, and consider any policy recommendations by this body.  

The most promising and impactful new developments are body-worn cameras and the Police Data Initiative. Body-worn cameras will provide citizens and police officers with visual evidence of disputed incidents, and has been widely embraced.  

The Police Data Initiative will provide local residents and others, access to a number of data sets, such as criminal activity in a specific geographic area, use of force/response to resistance data and much more, so that citizens are better  informed based on actual data, hopefully building greater trust through this effort to be more transparent. Further, residents, will be able to see how OPD compares against other participating law enforcement agencies across the nation.  

In summation, this assessment has been a very healthy and insightful exercise for the organization. The agency is stronger as a result of this review, and we have set the platform for strengthening public trust and confidence with the community.