Miami-Dade County’s population is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan. And its police force reflects that.
In 2012, the State Department decided to put that diversity to use beyond our borders. State recruited Miami-Dade police to help train and build law enforcement in Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica and even Egypt. Federal officials say it worked out so well that this week they re-upped the Miami-Dade force for another five years.
“From our perspective, Miami-Dade PD delivers the best training package of any police department in the country," Bill Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics and Law Enforcement, told WLRN.
"[It's] both because they’ve got the broad range of specialties, from drug interdiction to sex crimes investigation, but second because they’ve got as good a linguistic package – which is to say native-speaking police officers – as virtually any other department in the country.”
Which is why Brownfield expects the list of countries Miami-Dade PD works with to expand – especially in violence-ravaged Central America. One possibility is El Salvador. It has the world’s highest murder rate and relies on what experts call a failed military strategy to fight gangs.
Brownfield says Miami-Dade police could introduce more effective and comprehensive plans like community policing.
"You define your most dangerous sectors very precisely, and then you flood the zone with law enforcement and add other elements of government - social and economic development, education, healthcare," said Brownfield.
“That’s the direction in which we hope to be going in Honduras and El Salvador as well as Guatemala."
Miami-Dade Police Department training is widely credited with helping improve Haiti’s police force.