The chickens in the Orlando Police Department are building themselves a giant coop


Protesters gathered outside the Orlando Police Department last summer. - PHOTO BY NICOLAS TAMAYO LEON
  • Photo by Nicolas Tamayo Leon
  • Protesters gathered outside the Orlando Police Department last summer.

The Orlando Police Department took a second look at the protests that spanned the city and the nation last summer and decided that they did not like the way that the public could gather outside their headquarters on Orange Blossom Trail.

For fear of further people carrying cardboard signs, the OPD recently began surrounding the building's lot with a tall security fence, complete with metal gates on the driveways that can slam shut in the event of unrest.

Police Chief Orlando Rolón told Orlando Weekly he doesn't believe the security fence projects an unwelcoming aura, noting that the metal gates that would close when enough people are mad at the police were currently open.

"Our facility will continue to have the same unrestricted access it has always had. If you noticed, the main pedestrian and vehicle entry points are not restricted in any way. The new fence will include gates that we can close when necessary," he said.

He added, in true City Beautiful fashion, that he wanted the target of public ire to be less ugly than the impromptu fortress of last year.

"Last year we noticed a security gap/discrepancy at our beautiful headquarters,As you might recall, at times during the demonstrations there were hundreds or thousands of demonstrators at our headquarters. In response we had to deploy many officers to form a line between our building and the demonstrators," he said. "We deployed bicycle barricades around the perimeter of our building which were very unsightly."

Rolón admitted to WESH that the gates were about limiting contact with an enraged public.

"We wanted something that would be complementary of the building, and also provide a barrier so that we didn't have to have that face-to-face contact with individuals," he shared.

Whether or not he caught the irony of building a giant coop after chickens came home to roost, he didn't say.

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