It’s National Police Week a time to respect, honor and remember those who gave their lives in the line of duty. And for some departments, it involves looking ahead. The Delray Beach Police Department is one of those agencies on a mission to build better community relations through a more diversified force.
WPTV is exclusively on the beat with Officer Rodner Guillaume.
“You can be responsible for somebodies life or your life can be taken in a matter of seconds,” Guillaume said. “We’re sometimes responding to in-progress robberies or the burglaries — this job can be very dangerous.”
When he left Haiti at 12 and arrived in Delray Beach he knew he wanted to serve this city. And honor the badge of those before him.
“Hopefully we learn something from those people that we didn’t know before that can better protect us in the future,” Guillaume said.
And he takes the diversity he brings to policing — both seen and unseen very seriously.
”Sometimes it’s just hard for somebody to call the police and say their truths — say what they want to say just because they think they’re going to get into trouble,” Guillaume said.
It’s part of an organizational culture his boss, Delray Beach’s top cop Chief Javaro Sims is not only challenging but changing.
”If you look at it, the more the better,” Sims said.
Since becoming interim chief in October 2018 and official chief in April 2019, 79 percent of new hires have been minority sworn officers. He was one of the first chief’s in the nation to speak publicly about the death of George Floyd last year. And a poster of a protest is visible in his department’s foyer.
”We care about the issues and we’re going to support you when you’re doing the right things,” he said.
Chief Sims says this is bigger than skin color. In his department, practical scenario based diversity training helps officers make split second decisions when responding to people of different cultures.
“And when you practice that I think you’re more inclined to make better decisions,” he said.
Chief Sims would like to hire four more officers this budgetary cycle. Meanwhile, his message to other departments is to reflect the community in which you serve.
To learn more about career opportunities within the Delray Beach Police Department visit, here: https://www.delraybeachfl.gov/government/city-departments/police/about-us/police-officer-employment