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Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III surrounded by colleagues at the 2017 United States Conference of Mayors. Photo: Raul E. Diego/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

In Miami Gardens, Florida, the police department gives hiring preference to candidates with a local address.

The state of play: Mayor Oliver Gilbert III credits that initiative with increasing diversity within its police force (more than 50% of officers are black) and building a strong bond with the community.

  • "The surest way to make sure our police officers have relationships with the community is making sure officers are from the community," said Gilbert, who's been mayor since 2012.

The big picture: Gilbert isn't focused on defunding the city's police department. The idea of demilitarizing the police and spending money on other community priorities is already happening, he said.

  • The city already mandates implicit bias training and body cameras.
  • Thanks to a growing economy and relatively stable budget, the city has been able to expand educational and recreational programs for kids, create a department of civic engagement, and invest in new public parks.

In support of Black Lives Matter, on Tuesday, at 8:46am, all digital billboards in the city simultaneously broadcast photos of local children and a message in honor of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time Floyd was pinned to the ground.

  • "We need to always have law enforcement present, but we don't need to over-police," he said, adding that a police department should have the resources it needs to do its job.
  • "Law enforcement isn't the only way you enforce the law; you do it with community engagement."

Go deeper

Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rochester police chief fired following Daniel Prude's death

A make shift memorial at the site where Daniel Prude was arrested in Rochester, New York. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Monday she's fired Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and suspended two others following protests over the police killing of Daniel Prude, a Black man says after being hooded and held down by local police.

Why it matters: The firing of Singletary comes almost a week after he announced his retirement. Activists have called for Singletary's resignation after details of Prude's March death surfaced recently, the Democrat and Chronicle notes. Warren accused Singletary of failing to properly brief her on the killing.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.