Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A New Sheriff in Downtown? And Other Mysteries

Many strange things are occurring in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and at this time we don't have many answers.

First off, the biggest change is that Broward Sheriff's Office seems to have taken over policing for Broward Central Terminal and Broward Main Library. FLPD is still policing everywhere else, even right up to the property line between Stranahan Park and the Library.

Why? So far, this is unclear, and no one we've asked so far is providing answers. Is the FLPD being removed from handling some of the areas most frequented by homeless people downtown due to their bad behavior? What does BSO intend to do differently here? 

BSO at Broward Central Terminal, 5.16.2016
The mixed signals only get better from here, because at the same time the FLPD has been busy in many other places. Residents of the sidewalk in front of Stranahan Park, who just weeks ago were subjected to a half-hearted, bureaucratic attempt to take their possessions, were subjected to a much less complicated and successful attempt at displacement today. The City declared that the sidewalk needed to be pressure washed and that everyone had to move their things. Several also reported that the police also told them they would only be allowed to move their possessions back only if it was 2 small bags. It certainly seems a lot simpler and effective than using the city's "scarlet sticker" storage ban law. Still, the temporary move seems to be a peaceful transition for the being.

How or why City employees are trying to apply airline-esque baggage restrictions on homeless people that are living in that area is also, at this time, unclear.

FLPD's behavior is also not limited to the sidewalk. This week police have also suddenly started rousting homeless people from bus benches on Broward Boulevard, and have sharply increased profiling for panhandling and jaywalking in the same area. 

How and why are all these things happening at the same time? This too is unclear, but we hope for more updates tomorrow.

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