|Don't laugh...it could happen! And Aventura's SWAT team is ready.|
What follows, is the story of what happens when a tiny police department in a relatively crime-free town gets an unlimited budget to buy all the razzle-dazzle crime-fighting gear it wants but doesn't need.
The City of Aventura in North Miami Dade County has a population of about 35,000.
But don't let the tiny size of Aventura (about 3.5 sq. miles) fool you. This ain't Mayberry.
Crime is rampant in Aventura.
There are all those red light runners on Biscayne Blvd. and the curfew violators at Aventura Mall. Okay, so I exaggerated a bit. Aventura is a relatively safe place to live. But that doesn't mean something bad won't happen.
And if it does, the Aventura Police Department is ready for anything.
According to the city's website, its police department has 80 full-time police officers, 39 civilian employees, and 15 volunteers.
Additionally, the department has a K-9 unit, a dive team and a S.W.A.T. team.
Yup, you read that right.
The police department in tiny Aventura has a ten-man SWAT Unit complete with a Command vehicle "to handle tactical operations which may be outside the scope of normal patrol activities. The team includes a SWAT medic, two snipers, and two team leaders," according to one description on the Internet. (Click here to see one of Aventura's "snipers" in action!)
|Actual Aventura Police Dept. S.W.A.T. bumper sticker. (Click to enlarge)|
That makes sense. Because, as we all know, when al-Qaeda finally comes to South Florida, they're probably heading straight for Aventura.
After all, what better way to bring America to its knees than by hitting the Cajun Grill or Cheesecake Factory at the Aventura Mall or the target-rich fairways at the golf course at the Turnberry Isle Resort?
Aventura's SWAT commander is so proud of his elite, battle-hardened band of brothers, he recently commissioned a professional photographer to take some sexy glamor shots that show off his team's steely resolve.
Photographer Jaime "Nisso" Chalem says on his website that shooting pics of the SWAT team was an "amazing experience."
|Photograph by Nisso Studios.|
The photos "Nisso" shot are unintentionally hilarious. (Click here to see all of "Nisso's" amazing shots of Aventura's SWAT team.)
"Not only did I get to spend the day with these guys, but I also got to see first hand how they train in order to accomplish their very dangerous missions," says "Nisso."
The most serious hazard an Aventura cop faces is a severe case of writer's cramp after a day of writing traffic tickets on Biscayne Blvd.
"Nisso" also photographed the police department's dive team and K-9 unit.
About the dive team "Nisso" writes, "Besides having all kinds of cool equipment and toys, access to two boats and the super human ability to breath (sic) underwater, these guys do things that would almost make the Navy Seals jealous."
|Aventura Police dive team member emerges from a water hazard on the 9th|
hole at Turnberry Isle Golf Course. Photograph by Nisso Studios.
Really? Make the Navy Seals jealous? Jealous of whom? This guy?
I don't think any military unit is going to be jealous of Aventura's drugstore cowboys.
Any idiot can pose for a camera. It's a little more difficult to produce results, though.
Almost two years ago Aventura's elite SWAT team managed to let a gunman escape in broad daylight after an hours-long stand-off on Biscayne Blvd. Just imagine the outcome had we sent these guys in after Osama bin Laden.
And the rest of this Keystone Cops-style police department ain't much better.
This is, after all, a police department that embarrassed itself on national TV and f**ked-up a major murder case because the department's lead crime scene investigator was screwing the lead homicide detective assigned to the case.
But, how dangerous a place can Aventura be when the address of its police department is 19200 West Country Club Drive and within spitting distance of a world-class golf course?
Note to Aventura SWAT's Sgt. Cosimo Castronovo: If you and your boys think that posing with all your toys makes you bad-ass, you're sadly mistaken. If you're really in charge of a macho, combat-ready outfit, why not arrange to hang out with some guys who are the real deal?
How about you and the boys spending a month or two training with these guys?
Can you cut it? I doubt it.
Until you do, Sarge, no matter how many pretty pictures you pose for, you and your crew will still be mall cops.