Sousa says Police Department focused on Crandon safety and community policing initiatives

Key Biscayne Police Chief Sousa addresses island business owners during a recent Brunch with Our Cops event, sponsored by the Key Biscayne Chamber of Commerce.

At last week’s Village Council meeting, Key Biscayne Police Chief Frank Sousa reported about moves being made by his officers to improve community engagement, as well as safety concerns being addressed on Village roads.

A new community resource program -- with a specialized unit consisting of one supervisor and four officers in “block-style” police patrols -- is one of the department’s additions.

Those well-trained officers will be tasked with solving community problems and concerns by interacting with local businesses and residents, and offering support from a familiar face in their assigned neighborhoods, according to Sousa.

Chief Sousa, along with Deputy Chief Younes and several KBPD officers, participated in a Brunch with Our Cops, a Key Biscayne Chamber initiative that invites business owners/reps for brunch to meet Chief Sousa and other law enforcement officers.

Several business owners interacted with Chief Sousa and raised issues such as parking, safety and ways the island's business community can help the police department. 

Other steps being taken by the Police Department to improve community relations include:

- Kicking off its Youth Engagement Programs

- Ensuring Community Resource Officers have received proper training

- Partnering with senior organizations, local faith-based groups and the Chamber of Commerce

Identifying and improving vulnerable points on the Key based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design strategies.

On Nov. 15, the Village launched its “Key to Street Safety” campaign -- a safety and public awareness program led by teachers, coaches and resident leaders. Hand-held flyers, social media, Ch. 77 videos, and online messages through Village Connect will also provide assistance to residents.

That comes on the heels of last month’s update by Chief Sousa, in which there would be more active police presence in parks and roadways during peak hours, and citations being handed out to both drivers and pedestrians for infractions.

Some of the long-term efforts involving BCC Engineering LLC (construction contract was approved Tuesday night) could include:

- A design of the 300-foot southbound right-turn lane from Crandon to Harbor Drive

- A design to extend the southbound left-turn lane on Crandon at Key Colony by 80 feet.

Other possible safety projects being considered include:

- An engineering evaluation for the Harbor Drive/Fernwood Road roundabout to eliminate the left-turn movement from Harbor to Fernwood

- Analyses of golf cart entrances and exit

- A modification to the existing intersection at Crandon and Grand Bay Drive to restrict movements from Grand Bay to Crandon

- The possible removal of existing crosswalk(s)

- Lowering the speed limit.

Another hot issue discussed at the last Village Council meeting was an update on proposed new safety rules for golf carts on Village streets.

Village Attorney Friedman reported that he has been talking to Miami-Dade County officials about possibly “striping up” Crandon Boulevard for golf carts, and/or signage added.

“We need more time to present something, to show them visually,” he said.

Striping on Crandon would require approval of the county’s engineering department, which could allow the city to perform the work.

Public Works Director Jake Ozyman said his department has done an initial review on adjusting entrance/exit curbing on Fernwood Road, which would be simple in some areas, but further designs by BCC Engineering LLC would be needed for other shopping center accesses, for example.

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