By Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine
For many in our close-knit Northwest Broward community, Valentine’s Day will never be the same. A day of love and friendship turned into a day of senseless, tragic violence. It seems like everyone in our area knows someone who was affected in one way or another by this horrific act. While our community, unfortunately, may be known for the events of February 14, 2018, we will also be recognized as a community who, despite political differences, came together to enhance the national debate, push for safer schools, safety reforms and gun safety. We still feel the intense effects of that dreadful day in our community, but collectively we are picking up the pieces and moving forward. So many have come together to take action, both large and small, to be a part of a solution. Together we will make positive change.
In an emergency, the right tools to respond to someone in need are the difference between life and death. Since the MSD shooting, we have heard about how the radio systems, while functional, were inadequate and overwhelmed. Broward is currently operating on a radio system built at a time when we had half the population and less physical infrastructure. It must be our top priority to upgrade to the brand new P25 radio system which will bring Broward County into the 21st century as quickly as possible. This will provide our first responders with a state-of-the-art system that will provide a quicker response for any future emergencies. Included in that is the installation of the “Text to 911” system in Broward County. “Text to 911” will be available countywide starting this year. In an emergency, this will allow someone to send a message to law enforcement, or an individual with a disability to request help. This new technology will enhance our response capabilities in an emergency.
After the MSD shooting, the legislation has made sure that Bleed Kits were installed within all county facilities alongside defibrillator equipment. We have also seen local cities adopt similar policies. The kits allow anyone to create tourniquets and provide basic first aid for an individual before responders arrive, creating an opportunity to save more lives.
In response to the tragedy at MSD, the County Commission proposed an ordinance that will install tougher regulations on the sale and possession of firearms in Broward County. Together with other municipalities, Broward County is challenging state preemption laws in court. We have also worked with the League of Women Voters to promote trigger locks and other educational offerings to encourage gun safety and help prevent future issues.
We cannot bring back the 17 people lost on that day, but we owe it to their memory and in their honor to do everything we can to help prevent this from happening again. Our community partners and residents are doing what they can to help elevate the debate. I continue to stand with our community to advocate for all these vitally important changes to occur locally, statewide, and nationally.
In continuing to serve District 3, I hold office hours at various locations in Broward County. I am always available to discuss any questions or concerns and can be reached at [email protected] or (954) 357-7003. Please follow me on social media, @MichaelUdine on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, to receive important updates and see what is happening in our community.