Today I spent the morning with my mum and Lyn at the cottage, having breakfast and some time in the sun. I had my lunch and then drove up the coast to do another one of my ridealongs with the police. I conducted some further interviews with the gang unit Detectives and heard more about the gang issues here in Southern Florida – the influence of social media and the way in which the ‘no snitching’ policy within communities makes it a continuing challenge to police the issues. I also learned more about the post-Ferguson effect on the police, the way in which officers feel it has restricted their ability to be proactive and also the surge of public support they feel they have had recently within some of the communities in light of some of the previous criticisms. I am learning so much about the gang issues here but also the experiences of police officers at a time of huge transition.
During the ride along the officers took me into some of the other housing projects I had not yet seen and I saw some of the proactive work with gang members in the community where they check for bandanas, colours etc and for potential for ‘beef’ to kick off between rivals. I saw firsthand how quite a few wider members of the community also come up and talk to officers, thank them for the work they are doing and give them encouragement. It was a very interesting evening but I was very late home – after 1am, but having gained some further insights into the gang issues and the policing of the issues.
Tomorrow, hopefully a relaxing day with my family.