PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – In under a year since the inception of the Pembroke Park Police Department, which marked the end of many years of oversight by sheriff’s deputies, the town has experienced a loss of nearly fifty percent of its officers.
This encompasses the dismissal of the town’s police chief in May, a few months after the department commenced serving the approximately 6,000 residents in the southern part of Broward County.
“I prefer to focus on the future rather than dwell on the past,” remarked Police Major Ra Shana Dabney-Donovan.
Dabney-Donovan has taken on the role of the agency’s interim chief.
“At present, we have eleven sworn personnel,” she shared. “Our concentration is on identifying the most qualified candidates.”
Initially, the town had a roster of twenty sworn officers.
In 2022, town officials opted to terminate their agreement with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, believing that an internal police force could manage emergency responses and law enforcement more effectively and economically than deputies.
Despite the challenges in staffing, the town’s mayor commended the dedication of the officers who remain.
“The residents are in good hands,” affirmed Mayor Ashira Mohammed. “The police force is making commendable contributions to the community by actively engaging with its members.”
While Mohammed acknowledged morale concerns within the department, Dabney-Donovan expressed her interest in retaining her position as chief and highlighted the continued presence of the town’s police force on the streets.
“We’re present, responding to calls, and ensuring our contribution to road patrol duties,” she assured.
The town has also been embroiled in turmoil due to the conduct of one of its commissioners.
An external investigation, initiated at the request of fellow commissioners, revealed that Commissioner Geoffrey Jacobs was involved in a series of “threatening, humiliating, or intimidating behaviors.”
Jacobs had previously served as the town’s mayor.
Town commissioners were scheduled to convene an emergency meeting on Thursday evening to address the findings of this new report.