Panama City Beach, Fla – The Miami Dolphins and North Miami Police Department were named the recipients of the Florida Police Chiefs Association "Operation Cooperation" Public/Private Partnerships of Services Award. The presentation took place on August 21, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Florida as part of the Florida Police Chiefs Association Summer Conference.
A Miami Dolphins Football Unites grant recipient, the partnership with North Miami Police Department (NMPD) expanded after a meeting on October 10, 2017 with Dolphins players, staff and NMPD representatives. As a result of these productive conversations about community policing and engagement and subsequent ride along through North Miami, a partnership was created through the funding of the North Miami Police Department Police Athletic League. Through this collaboration, both organizations forged an alliance that focuses on community engagement, promoting equality and social justice reform, while enhancing public safety in the community.
"We are proud to partner with the Miami Dolphins. The team's support of the North Miami Police Department and our PAL program has been nothing shy of remarkable," North Miami Police Chief Larry Juriga said. "We are thankful to stand side-by-side with the Dolphins as we engage with our youth and build trusting relationships within our community. You know we are making a positive impact when kids run up to our officers with a smile, just to give a hug or simply engage in conversation. The Miami Dolphins are our family and tremendous partners."
"We are honored to join Chief Juriga and the North Miami Police Department in receiving this prestigious award and excited to expand our relationship through our Football Unites program," Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications & Community Affairs Jason Jenkins said. "Both organizations share a passion for developing partnerships to improve community relations and are unified in our efforts to serve as a model program to promote understanding and respect through educational and athletic programming to improve relationships with our youth."
Through Football Unites, the Miami Dolphins have created opportunities for South Florida-based groups to strengthen and expand their impact around community engagement, education and criminal justice reform. The team chose 11 recipients to receive Football Unites grants for the 2018 season. This diverse set of recipients includes Art Detectives, Community Justice Project, Inc., Miami Gardens PoliceDepartment, National Organization of Black Law Executives South Florida Chapter (NOBLE), North Miami Police Athletic League, North Miami Beach Police Athletic League, Pridelines, SAVE, Trayvon Martin Foundation, Urban League of Broward County and YWCA Miami.
The Miami Dolphins hosted the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project's annual Police and Youth Conference at Hard Rock Stadium.
The grant recipients are in addition to an announcement by Stephen Ross and the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project of a long-term partnership, centering on social justice, education and police and youth relations. The cornerstones of the partnership are the 5000 Role Models Police and Youth Conference and a College Academic Signing Day for Wilson Scholars at Hard Rock Stadium. In addition, the Dolphins will continue pre-existing programs with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project and amplify new events. In all, these social justice community initiatives will impact more than 10,000 Role Models.
The Football Unites Captains Program is a diversity and inclusion initiative that will bring 80 to 100 middle school students from various backgrounds together once a month for a day of learning about tolerance, acceptance and leadership. Dolphins players and alumni will join these students to share their stories, perspectives and experiences. The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) will assist with programming and program evaluation.
Another component of Football Unites is the Project Change Scholarship, which identifies one high school student each year and pays for their tuition to college over a four-year period. The goal of the college scholarship is to provide financial support to students who have made a commitment to leading social progress initiatives in their communities. This year's inaugural recipient was Valicia Browne. Browne, a graduating senior from Olympic Heights Community High School in Boca, has a goal to establish medical clinics to offer reasonably priced health care in underserved communities and has been accepted to Florida State University.
These initiatives are in addition to Dolphins previous work in this space through the team's collaboration with RISE. Founded by Ross in Oct. 2015, RISE harnesses the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. To learn more about RISE, visit risetowin.org.