Letters from the Issue of December 13, 2001

Top Cop Talks Shop: Yes, we've emerged from the dark ages, but can't we just skip over that part?

I would like to address one specific part of Ms. Wakefield's article. She overheard a brief conversation between board member Robert Ingram and me. As most people know, Dr. Ingram had a long and distinguished career in local law enforcement. It was not inappropriate that he would mention someone he knew who had applied to be a school-resource officer. Recommendations are both expected and welcomed. It has been common practice for other police officers to recommend individuals they believe have what it takes to be successful in police work.

As the article noted, I said I would look into the status of the individual. Unfortunately I had to report back to Dr. Ingram that the applicant was rejected. As Dr. Ingram knows from his days as a police chief, simply because someone is recommended doesn't mean the individual can find his or her way through the application and background regimen.

The school district's police department continues to move in the right direction. More than eight million dollars secured from the federal government for community-oriented policing is a testament that we are progressing. The timing of this infusion of money is most important following the events of September 11 and amid the budget reductions from the State of Florida.

As teachers remain busy providing students the education that shapes their minds and character, the school police will be busy "protecting our future."

Pete Cuccaro, chief of police
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

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