Palm Beach County hopeful it will get federal money for Trump security

122216-trump-palm-beach-_01 trumpcopsPalm Beach County is optimistic it will get some of $7 million in available federal reimbursement for what it spent on extra security for recent visits by President-elect Donald Trump to his Mar-a-lago compound in Palm Beach.

“The good news is it should be a fairly expedited process from application to award,” Assistant County Administrator Todd Bonlarron told county officials Thursday in an email.

Neither Bonlarron nor the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office had estimates yet on what was spent during the two weeks Trump was at Mar-a-Lago from Dec. 16 to Jan 1. PBSO said it might have a ballpark figure later this week.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker told commissioners at their Dec. 21 meeting that the county spent $250,000 just over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, for escorting Trump’s motorcade and providing additional security, and that she’d ask for federal reimbursement.

 Bonlarron told The Palm Beach Post Monday that he realizes Palm Beach County is competing with New York and New Jersey, who also have handled extra security for Trump since the election.

“There should, hopefully, be some equity in how they allocate those dollars,” he said.  “But I don’t take anything for granted.”

To read more, go later to

Justice scholar: police review boards can work


Independent community review boards for police can be useful, a criminal justice scholar said Monday at the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission’s annual goal-setting retreat.

“It’s not an easy thing,” Thomas Blomberg, dean of Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Justice, told the justice panel’s half-day gathering at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

But, he said, “It can work. And it has worked in a number of jurisdictions.”

Blomberg, the planning meeting’s keynote speaker, was responding to a question by justice commission member, and defense attorney, Nellie King, who said the justice commission has not really weighed in on the cjclogo150issue.

County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, who’s on the justice panel’s executive committee but did not attend Monday’s retreat, has been a vocal proponent of a police review board, especially following an April series by The Palm Beach Post and WPTV NewsChannel 5 that found people shot by deputies have disproportionately been black. The county commission shelved the idea in September, saying such a board would have no authority over the Sheriff’s Office.

Blomberg said Monday that “evidence is mixed” on the effectiveness of such panels, depending on where they operate. But he said they work only when police and the people they serve work together rather than against each other.

“This is a good way to begin discourse, and it’s useful not just for community members themselves but officers as well,” Blomberg said. “The police officers and community, they’re part of a whole. It’s not either-or.”