About Port St. Lucie’s Mission of Inclusivity
In 2016, in response to acts of violence in the United States stemming from racial tension, terrorism, hate and a lack of understanding, the City of Port St. Lucie began an ongoing community conversation – creating PSL’s Forum on Race Relations and Inclusion. Since then, City leaders have made it a priority to keep this constructive dialogue open. During the past four years, the City has organized and hosted open conversations and workshops on issues including: race, LGBTQ+, acceptance not discrimination among teens and youth, disabilities, immigration, religious tolerance, bridging the gap between the community and the police and fair and impartial policing.
The Forum’s mission is to bring the people of Port St. Lucie together to listen, share concerns, learn, plan, act and report on progress in maintaining and enhancing our promise of being a City for ALL people.
In light of recent events, the City would like to offer the following facts and let the community know that the Forum’s peaceful mission of unity will continue to be a priority for city leaders.
Facts About Port St. Lucie
- As an "excelsior" accredited agency, the Port St. Lucie Police has policies for most activities, which are constantly being refined to represent the industry's best practices.
- The PSLPD has a use of force continuum that prioritizes the officer's presence and verbal interaction over any use of force.
- As of 6/5/2020, the PD has had a total of three excessive force complaints over the last five years.
- Over the last five years, the use of deadly force has happened twice.
- The knee-to-the-neck technique is not authorized in PSL. In fact, PSL only authorizes the use of a chokehold in a deadly force encounter.
- Community policing and forming solid, working relationships with community groups is at the heart of the PSLPD’s mission. The Department is engaged with a variety of community groups and stakeholders, such as churches, HOAs, neighborhood groups, nonprofits and advocacy groups.
- The PSLPD has hundreds of community volunteers who make the PD special.
- The PSLPD’s Citizens Police Academy is always full.
- The PD has a Police Explorers Program and sponsors a local Police Athletics League.
- Learn more about the Professional Standards Division and associated commendation/complaint process.
- One of the City’s long-running strategic goals is to be the safest large city in the state. And the streak that began nine years ago continued in 2019. Among all Florida cities with a population of more than 100,000, Port St. Lucie experienced the lowest number of crimes in 2019, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report.
- Multiple National lists have ranked the City of Port St. Lucie as among the saftest in Florida and the nation, including U.S. News and World Report.
Port St. Lucie has been accurately characterized as a "melting pot" of people living together. In fact, Florida Trend Magazine highlighted Port St. Lucie for providing a mirror image to the State of Florida's average demographics.
The City is truly integrated without segregated neighborhoods. In fact, our integration can be measured scientifically on the "Index of Dissimilarity."
According to the most recent Census data currently available. This is the breakdown for PSL:
Race & Hispanic Origin
- White alone: 73.7%
- Black or African American alone: 18.9%
- American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 0.4%
- Asian alone: 2.3%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.0%
- Two or More Races: 2.7%
- Hispanic or Latino: 20.1%
- White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 57.3%
White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian.
Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black or African American," or report entries such as African American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian.
American Indian and Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. This category includes people who indicate their race as "American Indian or Alaska Native" or report entries such as Navajo, Blackfeet, Inupiat, Yup'ik, or Central American Indian groups or South American Indian groups.
Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. This includes people who reported detailed Asian responses such as: "Asian Indian," "Chinese," "Filipino," "Korean," "Japanese," "Vietnamese," and "Other Asian" or provide other detailed Asian responses.
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who reported their race as "Fijian," "Guamanian or Chamorro," "Marshallese," "Native Hawaiian," "Samoan," "Tongan," and "Other Pacific Islander" or provide other detailed Pacific Islander responses.
Two or more races: People may choose to provide two or more races either by checking two or more race response check boxes, by providing multiple responses, or by some combination of check boxes and other responses. For data product purposes, "Two or More Races" refers to combinations of two or more of the following race categories: "White," "Black or African American," American Indian or Alaska Native," "Asian," Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander," or "Some Other Race"
About the Forum on Race Relations & Inclusion
July 2016: In an effort to engage in honest dialogue and to brainstorm ways Port St. Lucie can enhance its identity as a safe City for all people, the City invited community partners and residents to participate in its first Forum on Race Relations and Inclusion. City staff and local stakeholders organized an eye-opening and valuable experience for the entire community.
November 2016: The City held its first ever Forum on Race Relations & Inclusion on Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event was focused on engaging sessions that included topics on: Race and ethnicity, fair and impartial policing; LGBTQ+: A Personal Journey; Disabilities; Immigration and inclusion; Religious tolerance; and bridging the gap between the community and the police. All members of the public were able to register for the event. The event featured guest speakers and breakout session and was attended by over 400 people.
2017: The City of Port St. Lucie and Mayor Gregory Oravec received an Outstanding Achievement Large City 2017 Livability Award at the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s 85th Annual Meeting in support of the Forum on Race Relations & Inclusion. The Forum also recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Hermes Creative Awards and an award of commendation from the Public Relations Society of America, Sunshine District.
From the daylong event in November of 2016, residents expressed particular interest in continuing discussions on bridging the gap between the community and police and LGBTQ+.
October 2017: The City invited the public to register for two workshops: GAAP (Gaining Appreciation by Adjusting Perspectives) Adult Session (focused on bridging the gap between the community and the police) which was held on Thursday, October 19, 2017; 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; and LGBTQ+ - a panel discussion which was held on Tuesday, November 14, 2017; 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. The GAAP session was limited to 30 participants.
December 2018: On December 5, 2018, staff held several GAAP sessions for youth at the Ken Pruitt Boys & Girls Club from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The session was tailored to benefit the younger population.
June 2019: On June 15, 2019 City staff and PD partnered with Youth Leadership St. Lucie and invited teens to participate in “A.N.D.?” (Acceptance Not Discrimination), an interactive seminar designed by teens primarily for teens to engage in candid conversation in a safe environment on the topic of discrimination for the purpose of gaining understanding and encouraging tolerance of the diversity found among their peers and in society at large. The seminar included a keynote speaker, breakout sessions on the topics of racial discrimination & LGBTQ+ discrimination, and a panel discussion.
2020: The City was approved for a $10,000 Challenge America grant to support the creation of a mural outside of the Minsky Gym depicting PSL’s vision to be a City for All People. The Challenge America funding category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Efforts for 2020 include plans for a public workshop and working with the community and muralists to develop design concepts. The goal is to unveil the mural at a future Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
In response to the death of George Floyd and ensuring the current movement is addressed, the City is planning to transition to a larger forum event this year. Staff is researching how to safely hold this event in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. More details will be posted as they become available.