North Miami leaders promised additional training and higher standards for the police department after the July 2016 shooting of Charles Kinsey and are now partnering with an organization to bolster those efforts.
The City Council approved an agreement Tuesday with the Police Executive Research Forum to provide the city with a use of force and crisis intervention training review. The agreement will cost the city about $84,000, and the study should be done by the end of May.
City Manager Larry Spring said it was a necessary step and part of the goals he and community leaders discussed at meetings after the Kinsey shooting.
The city also wants to comply with the organization’s guidelines as a means of regaining accreditation with the Florida Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation. The police department lost accreditation last May, when former chief Leonard Burgess was the top cop, due to concerns over training and record keeping and other issues, as reported by the Miami New Times.
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“We pursued this because of that and the commitment we made to the community post the shooting incident,” Spring said. “This is one of the milestone items that was on that list.”
Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was shot by police officer Jonathan Aledda as Kinsey was attempting to care for his patient, 26-year-old Arnaldo Eliud Rios Soto, who suffers from autism, schizophrenia and an intellectual disability.
The contract includes a four-hour command briefing on PERF’s principles on use of force, review of the city’s use-of-force policy, training and practices, and final findings and recommendations from the organization.
The city has also budgeted about $125,000 for police body cameras, and Spring said the City Council could vote on a contract at the Jan. 24 council meeting.
Other South Florida agencies have been audited and reviewed by PERF, including the Miami Beach Police Department following high-profile incidents like the fatal Tasering of Israel “Reefa” Hernandez-Llach and an infamous police shooting during the 2011 Memorial Day weekend in which officers from Miami Beach and other agencies fired 116 shots at a drunken driver, killing him and injuring four others.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also completed its review of the case late last month. The state attorney’s office and North Miami police are reviewing the findings. In a memo to council members, Spring said that the review process could take up to six months and that if any criminal activity is identified, it would be addressed following the review.
“If someone has to lose their job, it’s not going to be kept under the carpet,” Vice Mayor Scott Galvin said. “I feel better that when the moment comes — if it comes — to take action, then we’re going to do that.”