A Message from Coral Springs Chief Clyde Parry
As we enter the New Year, we should reflect on the old one. My last year’s message began like this; “As January approaches, so does the New Year. Many of us look forward to 2021 and wish to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror. I can understand why we wish 2020 would go away. It has been a year filled with challenges and tragedies.”
Sadly, 2021 is ending in much the same way we spent 2020. We are battling Covid 19 illnesses and are concerned about the spread of the latest Covid variant, Omicron. Thankfully, this latest variant doesn’t appear to be as deadly as the prior variants.
As a profession, law enforcement didn’t fare much better in 2021. According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, as of December 1, 2021, 314 officers were shot in the line of duty, with 58 of those officers killed. Of those shootings, 95 were ambush-style attacks, a 126% increase compared to 2020. As of this writing, there was 473 line of duty deaths in 2021, 318 deaths by Covid-19 alone. Sadly, our department lost Sgt. Pat Madison to Covid on August 20, 2021.
On the national stage, violent crime is up. According to ABC News, 12 major cities broke their annual homicide records in 2021. Of the 12 cities that surpassed that grim milestone, five broke records that were just set in 2020.
I have read many articles lately about suspects with long criminal records who were released on low or zero bail who committed homicide, most notably Darrell Brooks, who posted a $1,000 bail less than a week before he plowed through the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people and injuring dozens of others.
On the illegal narcotics front; Fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 45, according to an analysis of U.S. government data. There were 64,178 Fentanyl overdoses fatalities between April 2019 and April 2021. More adults between 18 and 45 died of fentanyl overdoses in 2020 than any other leading cause of death, including COVID-19, motor vehicle accidents, cancer, and suicide.
Property crime is also on the rise. I think we all have seen the “smash and grab” incidents that have become a national trend, where thieves run into stores and run out with everything they can carry. Nobody is there to stop them.
I believe it is important to look back on the last year so we can learn from it and hopefully not make the same mistakes going forward. I believe that many of us have seen the devastating effects of the “Defund the Police” movement. It has led to higher homicide rates in largely minority communities, and the lawlessness is spreading everywhere.
But I believe we have turned a corner. Many cities are now “refunding” the police and talking tough on crime. If you haven’t seen it, please watch San Francisco’s Mayor, London Breed’s speech calling for a crime crackdown. She defines the problem much better than I can.
During that speech, she says, “All of our residents, or workers, and everyone who visits our city should feel safe no matter what part of town they are in.”
I couldn’t agree more. The goal of every local government and police department must be to ensure the safety of its residents.
Earlier this month, I received an e-mail from one of our residents who said she doesn’t feel safe anymore in her neighborhood. She states that she sees more crime being reported on social media. As the Chief of Police, this bothers me. I want our residents to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.
In Coral Springs, our crime is down, despite some high-profile acts of violence that have been, and should be, well covered by the media. Safety begins with being aware of what is going on around you. I want all our residents to feel safe in their community. I pledge to work hard to reach that goal. I want you all to know that your safety is of paramount importance to me and the brave men and women who patrol our streets.
We are blessed to work in a city that has the support of its citizens, city leadership, and elected officials. I can’t express to you how important that is to our officers. Imagine working any job for people who hate you and bosses that don’t support you. No wonder officers are fleeing those areas, and crime is skyrocketing. We are truly blessed not to be in one of those situations.
Policing any jurisdiction is a partnership with its community. I am pleased that we have so many good and caring community partners. I can’t thank you enough for the support you have shown me and our officers. Together we can accomplish anything. Our department is committed to making Coral Springs the premier place to live, work, and raise a family.
I wish you a very Happy New Year, and I pray that 2022 brings all of us health, prosperity, and a bright future.
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