Helping Hands: The Public Safety Committee

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, January 19, 2023

Helping Hands: The Public Safety Committee

     The Helping Hands column profiles the town’s 12 volunteer committees that promote various causes in Miami Lakes and help the town government serve the community. 

     Committee activities are funded by the town budget and by ticket sales from some events. 

Committee Public Safety 

Founded April 14, 2009

Chair Nancy Rogers

Vice Chair Johnny Torres

Members Omar Gonzalez, secretary; Luis Lopez; Jorge Pena; Darwin Villavicencio; Brandon Diaz and Police Dept. representative Officer Robin Amador. 

Purpose “To work with local residents, businesses and the police department to organize and develop local crime watch programs and provide opportunities for public safety awareness and education,” according to the town’s website.

     During the November meeting, Chair Nancy Rogers thanked the group for their efforts during the Youth Activities Task Force’s Halloween event. 

     A stranger had been hanging out around the Haunted House at Veterans Park.      

     “It wasn’t anything major, but it was just something that proved why we needed to be there,” Rogers said. 

     Rogers said she told the man about the committee’s presence, which prompted him to leave. 

     Rogers said police were told about the person in case he returned.

     That was one of the ways that the group helps residents and supports events staged by other committees. 

     They also checked in the marchers for the Veterans Day parade. 

     The town’s “Drive like your kids live here” yard signs initiative was from the committee as well. 

      The group is made up of residents who want to help their neighbors. 

     Several are retired dispatchers, firefighters and police officers. 

     Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano attended the committee meeting and tasked them with spearheading an event to connect first responders with resources about cancer and other medical conditions; it will be held Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. 

     The committee is also exploring the creation of videos that present crime prevention tips, such as the 9 p.m. routine to lock up cars and prevent burglaries. 

     Retired Miami-Dade County Schools Police Officer Jorge Pena has belonged to the committee for about nine years and says his participation is a way for him to give back to the community. 

     “I used to work in law enforcement, and I live in the town,” Pena said. “I started my law enforcement career at Miami Lakes Middle,” Pena said. 

      Pena says that while the committee works with the Youth Activities Task Force and at events such as the Bike Rodeo, it’s about helping everyone. 

     “Whatever else we can do to help not only the kids, but all members of the community,” Pena said. 

     To join this or any other town committee, file a form with Miami Lakes Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo and attend two committee meetings. 

     A council member will then recommend the applicant. 

     Committee members must live or work in town, and some committees require a background check. 

     For more information go to https://bit.ly/3Ux8C0d.

In the photo: The Public Safety Committee in November, clockwise from top: Chair Nancy Rogers; Brandon Diaz; Vice Chair Johnny Torres; Jorge Pena; Town Liaison Aisle Pastora; Luis Lopez; Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano; Miami-Dade Police Officer Robin Almador and Secetary Omar Gonzalez. Photo by Alexandra Herrera.

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