The City of Margate is located in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metroplex, the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Margate is the oldest city in northwestern Broward County having been incorporated May 30, 1955. In 1955, the city administration consisted of a Town Clerk-Treasurer, a police officer, and a designated attorney.
The city has grown to become the 15th largest city in Broward County, with a population in excess of 54,000. The city covers approximately 9.44 square miles, has approximately 135 miles of roadways, and approximately 30 miles of waterways. The city is governed by a Mayor/Commission form of government. The City Commission appoints the City Manager, a professional administrator, who oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of the city through appointed department directors.
While primarily residential in nature, the city does have a significant business and industrial area which is currently undergoing substantial redevelopment. The City has created a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to guide this redevelopment and to ensure sustainability of these efforts, and has hosted a community visioning effort to gather input from the community as to the future direction of the city. The City has also recognized the need for community-wide property maintenance standards by adopting several new ordinances related to property maintenance and appearance. These new laws are designed to prevent blighting conditions, sustain property values and reduce crime.
The city is widely recognized for its exceptional home-town quality of life and the provision of excellent municipal services, including police and fire protection. The city has a richly diverse population that is continually changing. There are a large number of "snowbirds", including many Canadians, who call Margate home during the winter months. A number of major east-west and north-south roadways are utilized by residents and business owners to transverse from one section of the county to another. High traffic volume is a major concern.
Dana E. Watson is the Chief of Police. The police department has grown to 180 members, which includes 111 sworn officers and 69 civilian personnel (including part-time employees). The department has an annual budget of approximately 16 million dollars. The department, a full-service law enforcement agency, is organized in traditional, paramilitary fashion. The department is also responsible for code enforcement.
The police department follows a community-policing philosophy department-wide. Members of the department have established working partnerships with other city departments, county, state and federal agencies, homeowners associations and members of the private sector. The department has adopted a proactive stance towards establishing partnerships and addressing community issues.
The police department is composed of five bureaus whose commanders report directly to the Chief of Police:
The Field Services Bureau consists of the Patrol Division, Community Service Aides, K-9, Special Response Team, Special Enforcement Team, Crisis Negotiation and Gang Units. The major responsibilities for these respective components include but are not limited to: responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for service, investigating criminal and non-criminal complaints, investigating traffic crashes, enforcing Florida State Statutes, strategically responding to critical incidents and crime suppression.
The Investigative Services Bureau consists of the Special Operations Division and the Criminal Investigations Division, which includes detectives that investigate; Narcotics Enforcement, Major Crimes, Property and Persons Crimes. Victim Services, Crime Scene Technician and Technical Support are supporting components of these two divisions.
The Administrative Services Bureau provides administrative and logistical support for the Department, including the maintenance of effective operations, while providing the necessary adequate controls. The supportive components of this bureau include; Personnel, Background and Recruiting, Property and Evidence, Court Liaison and Special Projects and Investigations.
The Support Services Bureau consists of Training, Records, Planning and Research, Accreditation, Grants and Emergency Management. The components of this bureau are responsible for the in-service training of all new and current police department personnel, the receipt, processing and retention of police department reports and documents, grant writing, accreditation certification and the emergency management function.
The Community Services Bureau consists of Code Compliance, Neighborhood Policing, School Resource Officer, Animal Control and the Traffic Unit. The components of this bureau include; Code Compliance Officers who are responsible for identifying and correcting city code complaints, Crime Prevention Officer who coordinates neighborhood crime watch groups and crime awareness lectures, School Resource Officers who are stationed within our public schools and teach the D.A.R.E. curriculum and the Traffic Unit whose officers investigate traffic crashes, respond to neighborhood traffic complaints and specialized traffic enforcement.
The Public Information, Office Management and Internal Investigation are components that report directly to the Chief of Police.
Commission for Florida Accreditation Agency since 1997