By: Noor Fawzy
Like many families, my family moved to Coral Springs 20 years ago in search of a better place to live. Indeed, we recognized that Coral Springs prioritized public safety, and we appreciated its commitment to the safety and wellbeing of its residents.
Unfortunately, some within the city, in light of recent events taking place outside of Coral Springs, such as the incident with George Floyd, have taken it upon themselves to call for diverting resources from the Coral Springs Police Department.
That, to me, sounds like a call to defund the Coral Springs Police Department. Whatever you call it, and no matter how well-intended it might be, such calls are misguided and irresponsible and ultimately must be rejected. That message simply has no place in Coral Springs.
No police department is perfect. In fact, every police department has its own share of mishaps and mistakes, and some police departments have more problems than others. That is a given. Police departments are expected to review their policies, practices, and procedures regularly to ensure that public safety goals are met and that the appropriate level of care is exercised by police officers in their day-to-day interactions with the public.
While any reasonable person would look at the George Floyd incident and find it to be reprehensible on all levels, we should remind ourselves that this incident did not take place in Coral Springs.
Our police department has, for years, prohibited its officers from utilizing the knee-on-neck technique that is believed to be responsible for causing the death of George Floyd. More importantly, we should recognize that public safety issues and reform are always city-specific and should always be handled on a case by case basis, and should never be based on what is happening in other cities or what other cities may need from a public safety standpoint.
What might be needed in Minneapolis from a public safety standpoint, may not necessarily be needed in Coral Springs, and vice versa. I hope that our city commission would agree.
I appreciate that the Coral Springs Police Department has done an overall satisfactory job of keeping us safe. I don’t say that to curry favor with our police department. I say that because it’s about being reasonable and it’s about recognizing what is working in our city.
Our city is known for being one of the safest cities in the state. Our city has received prestigious awards like the Malcolm Baldridge and Sterling Awards and was once recognized as a Florida City of Excellence (we are still an excellent city!) in part for its successful public safety efforts. It is why many families, such as my own, have decided to call Coral Springs home.
While there is always room for improvement if things are already generally working well in our city from a public safety standpoint, why should we take such drastic measures, like creating a task force consisting of individuals with no law enforcement training or experience, to review police practices and procedures which could detrimentally have an impact on the ability of the police department to do its job effectively, or call for the creation of a police watchdog group with subpoena powers that may ultimately be unconstitutional?
These measures may actually do more harm than good, and they have the potential to make us less safe in the long run. I believe that these measures are ultimately unnecessary for Coral Springs.
My point is this: we don’t want to change things that are already working for us. I believe that we have a competent police chief in Chief Clyde Parry, and I see nothing in his professional background or record that would lead me to believe that he would not be able to meet our public safety goals and serve us well.
Our residents are generally very satisfied with the work of our police department, and rightfully so. They do their job at keeping us safe, and they do it well. That is why we, the residents, must actively push back against calls for defunding the Coral Springs Police Department and calls for certain reform measures that could potentially be problematic for us in the long run.
We owe it to our wonderful city to do just that.
Noor Fawzy is a civil litigation attorney at a statewide law firm, a proud J.P. Taravella alumna, and a candidate for the Coral Springs City Commission.
Coral Springs Talk welcomes all views. Submit yours here.