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At Monday’s City Commission meeting, Augustine Police Chief Barry Fox provided an update on important initiatives currently underway at the Police Department.
While the City of St. Augustine’s population has grown steadily over the past 20 years, crime rates continue to decrease. The largest percentage of crime is larceny, between 60% - 80%.
As part of the homeless outreach initiative, St. Augustine Police Department (SAPD) and the City of St. Augustine partner with St. Francis House Crisis Center by renting eight beds to facilitate enforcement of the local camping ordinance. While 233 individuals were referred to St. Francis House, less than 10% entered the housing crisis program.
The SAPD’s Quality of Life Program identified six households that qualified for wrap-around services, an intervention protocol that assists at-risk households, so they do not become homeless. SAPD works with Council on Aging, Care Connect, and Florida Department of Children and Families to provide necessary services.
Additionally, the Family Reunification Program, which has been operating for approximately 20 years, aims to return homeless individuals to a family member who is willing to assist and take them home. SAPD reunified 146 individuals with their respective families in 2019.
SAPD hired an Accreditation Manager, Jennifer Smalls, and has identified 239 standards that will need to be met. Two mock assessments will take place before the end of January 2021, and the final on-site assessment is currently scheduled for April 2021.
Finally, the City Commission approved the purchase of body cameras as part of the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year budget, and they will be deployed within the first two weeks of December 2020. The original estimated cost was $200,000, annually; however, the contract with Axon Enterprise, Inc., is $152,387. The cameras have been received and training has begun.
The cameras and the operating system are designed to capture, upload, manage and share video. Several features of the body cameras include, but are not limited to:
Watch Chief Fox’s update online at https://staugustinefl.swagit.com/play/10262020-714/#13. View the presentation here. View the Homelessness in St. Augustine White Sheet here.