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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Questions on Contacting us
2. Fingerprint and ID Question
3. Witness Questions
4. Police Response Questions
5. Jail/Prison Questions
6. Calling the Police Questions
7. Property Questions
8. Police Report Questions
9. Court Order Questions
10. General Information Questions
11. 911 Questions
12. Traffic Questions
13.Code Enforcement Questions
14. Commendation/Complaint Questions

Questions on Contacting us:

Q: Where is the Police Department located?
A: The Virginia Gardens Police Department is centrally located just two (2) block North of State Road 948 (NW 36 Street) and one (1) block East of Ludlam Road (NW 67 Avenue), at 6498 North West 38 Terrace, Virginia Gardens, Florida 33166.

Q: What is the mailing address and FAX number at the Police Department?
A: The mailing address is: 6498 NW 38 Terrace, Virginia Gardens, Fl 33166. The FAX number is: (305) 871-7174.

Fingerprint and ID Questions:

Q: I would like to get my child fingerprinted and photographed through the Police Department. What can I do?
A: The Virginia Gardens Police Department has a Kid Print program that includes a photo, fingerprints, and an information card. This service is free of charge for residents. All you need to do is call and set up an appointment.

Q: Does the Police Department provide a fingerprinting service for the public?
A: Yes. Every Tuesday and Thursday between 2:30PM and 4:30PM the public can be fingerprinted (at the first floor) of the police station. The fee is $10.00 per card and you must bring your own fingerprint card, we will not provide one. For Virginia Gardens residents the fee is only $5.00.

Q: Will the Police Department issue me an ID card?
A: No. We recommend that you obtain an identification card issued by the State of Florida.


Witness Questions:

Q: What should I do if I witness criminal activity or if I am a victim of a crime in Virginia Gardens?
A: First, make sure you are safe. Then, contact the police. If possible, make written notes of what you have seen, including descriptions, times, and locations, while your memory is still fresh. If the situation is an emergency, call 911. If it is not an emergency, call the Virginia Gardens Police Department directly at (305) 871-3141. Follow the directions and answer the questions being asked by the police or emergency call taker. Remain calm. It may be necessary for the police officer to speak to you directly. Be prepared to meet the officer or provide a contact phone number.

Q: Sometimes in my neighborhood, I see things that are out of place and unusual, such as suspicious people and/or vehicles. I don`t feel comfortable calling the police. Will you tell me about the reporting procedure?
A: At any given time, there are officers on the street. We, the Virginia Gardens Police Department, count on our citizens to alert us about unusual situations. Anytime someone calls, a dispatcher will take the information, ask questions, decide on what/whom to send, and the urgency of the call. We will respond to every call for service, though obviously, calls of less priority may take some time if all officers are tied up. You may report a crime and remain anonymous.

Q: What makes a person or a vehicle "suspicious?"
A: What "suspicious" is, is a subjective decision on the part of the caller. Manner of dress, for example, may indicate a workman hired by a resident, while an actual burglar may be attired in a 3-piece-suit. A person apparently loitering for some length of time, peering into cars, on private property attempting to find concealment would be suspicious. It is up to the caller to make that decision, acting on the "better safe than sorry" principle.


Police Response Questions:

Q: How soon are you going to get an Officer here?
A: Calls are rated by priority and arrival time depends on the seriousness of the call and the number of available units. Every call has a pre-programmed priority when it is routed to the dispatcher and the priority can be bumped up if additional information warrants it.

Q: Why did it take so long for the police to arrive when I called them?
A: All requests for police services are assigned by priority, based on the seriousness of the incident and the potential for injury or damage to property. At times, calls of less urgent nature must be delayed so that we may respond immediately to emergencies.

Jail/Prison Questions:

Q: How can I find out if someone is in jail, when visiting hours are, or additional information about the jail?
A: The Virginia Gardens Police Department does not have a jail, we only hold arrestees temporarily for the purpose of completing paperwork. For jail information you may call Miami-Dade County Corrections at 305-545-4004 (DCJ) or 305-470-7600 (TGK).

Q: How can I find out if someone is in prison, when visiting hours are, or additional information about the prison?
A: Visit the Florida Department of Corrections on the web or contact the Everglades Correctional Institute at 305-228-2000.


Calling the Police Questions:

Q: When I call the police, what information should I have ready to give them?
A: The information needed will vary based on what is being reported. The following is a list of questions that could be asked when you call for police service. Not all questions would be applicable to every call. The Communications Operator is going to want to know:
1. What is occurring or has occurred?
2. The location of occurrence?
3. Your name and phone number? (anonymous calls are accepted)
4. Your location, if different from location of occurrence?
5. The time of occurrence?
6. Are there any injuries?
7. Is anyone intoxicated?
8. Are there weapons involved?
9. How many people are involved?
10. What are the descriptions of people involved? (start from the top, i.e., gender, race, hair color, eye color, height, weight, scars/tattoos, clothing)
11. What is the description of the vehicles involved? (tag, color, make, model, year)
12. What was the direction of travel for anyone leaving the scene on foot or in a vehicle?
13. Are there any witnesses? Are they still on the scene?
14. Are there any animals at the house? Inside or outside?
15. Is the location fenced? Are there any clotheslines or pools?
16. Has anyone been outside?
(Questions 14 - 16 are necessary for the safety of approaching officers. Also, if police K-9's are used, this information will assist in effectively deploying the police dogs.)

Q: Can I make a police report at any time of day or do I need an appointment?
A: The police department will respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week to requests for police assistance in our Village. However, we do not respond to delayed reports.

Q: Can I make a police report over the phone or does a police officer have to come to my house?
A: Reports will not be taken over the telephone. We require that you respond to the police station or a police officer be sent to your location. We will not respond to calls outside of our jurisdiction.


Property Questions:

Q: What is needed to claim property, which was stolen from me and recovered by the police department?
A: All that is needed is a copy of the police report listing the stolen property and a state issued picture identification that identifies you as the person who made the report.

Q: Why does the police department sometimes hold a person's property when someone responsible for stealing it is arrested?
A: It is sometimes necessary to hold property as evidence in case it is needed at trial. We try to photograph property whenever possible and return it to the owner.


Police Report Questions:

Q: How long must I wait for a copy of my police report?
A: Copies are provided upon request, and upon payment for copies. Depending on the nature of the police investigation and case management review, reports are available in as little as five business days but can extend longer. Requests are replied to in the order they are received. You may call the Records Section at (305) 871-3141 or write to Virginia Gardens Police Records Department, 6498 NW 38 Terrace, Virginia Gardens, Florida 33166. Copy fees are based on the Florida public records law.

Q: How can I get a copy of my report?
A: There are two ways to receive a report copy. If you come to the police station, and the report is available, you can get it immediately by paying 15 cents per page from the records clerk. Most reports run two pages. You can also request a report in writing; however, we do not accept checks. Send the letter along with a money order to the Virginia Gardens Police Department, 6498 NW 38 Terrace, Virginia Gardens, Florida 33166, ATTN: Records Unit. Delivery time is approximately five to ten days.


Court Order Questions:

Q. Who do I have to call and where do I to get a restraining order?
A. Restraining orders may be obtained at any of the following courthouses:

Courthouse Center: 175 NW 1st Avenue, Miami, Florida, or call (305) 349-5888.
North Dade Justice Center: 15555 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, Florida, or call (305) 354-8736.
South Dade Government Center: 10710 SW 211th Street, Miami, Florida, or call (305) 252-5807.

Q: How do I have someone evicted?
A: Evictions in Miami-Dade County are handled by the Miami-Dade Police Department. The Virginia Gardens Police Department does not handle eviction orders. However, before you can have someone evicted you must file a landlord/tenant action with the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts.
Landlord and Tenant actions are tried under the Rules of Civil Procedure and they must be filed in the geographical district wherein the rental property is located. In Landlord and Tenant cases, the Clerk's Office will not assist with preparation for filing or give legal advice. For eviction filing and procedures, see Florida Statues, Chapter 83 which covers Landlord and Tenant Actions, Evictions, Rents Due and Owing, Security Deposits, etc..
In order to file an eviction with the Clerk's Office, respond in person to one of the County Courthouses listed below:

Caleb District Court
Joseph Caleb District Court
5400 NW 22nd Avenue, Suite #205 | Miami, Florida 33142
Telephone: (305) 275-1155 | Business Hours: 9:00am- 4:00 pm

Miami-Dade County Courthouse
73 West Flagler Street, Suite 135 | Miami, Florida 33130
Telephone: (305) 275-1155 | Business Hours: 9:00am- 4:00 pm

For more information on landlord/tenant actions visit the Miami-Dade Clerk of the Courts Web Site


General Information Questions:

Q: How many police officers does Virginia Gardens have?
A: The Virginia Gardens Police Department began as a one man department in 1947 and now has more than 22 sworn officers on the department.

Q: What is the difference between a police officer and a detective?
A: A detective is a plain-clothes police officer responsible for the follow-up investigation of crimes and incidents. A uniformed patrol officer responds to and handles the initial investigation of calls for police service. The detective continues the investigation started by the patrol officer but may also initiate specialized investigations directly assigned to the detective unit. In Virginia Gardens, a patrol officer and a detective are of equal rank.

Q: Why do two officers respond to alarm calls?
A: The possibility that a perpetrator is still on the premises demands that two officers respond for their safety. Even when the alarm holder advises an alarm company that an alarm was accidental, and provides a proper code, he/she may be doing so under duress.

Q: Do I have to wait 24 hours before making a Missing Persons call?
A: Not necessarily. If the victim is a juvenile or endangered in some way, we take the call immediately. If the victim is an adult and suspicious circumstances do not exist, we recommend that you wait 24 hours.

Q: Will the Virginia Gardens Police Department respond if I lock my keys in my car?
A: Unless there is an immediate danger to public safety (i.e., a child is locked inside), you will be asked to contact a towing company or a locksmith. If the vehicle is running and creating a hazard, or if a child is locked in the car, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department will respond, along with an officer, if necessary. Virginia Gardens Police Officers do not respond to routine lock-outs; we will respond to animals locked in a car if the windows are closed and the situation could constitute animal cruelty.

Q: Why is there a police helicopter flying above my house or over my neighborhood?
A: The Miami-Dade County Police Department must obtain air clearance from the airport tower before attempting to fly over MIA airport airspace. Officer/Pilots often fly in areas of the county looking from above for illegal activity or situations requiring attention that otherwise may not be observed by an officer on the ground. The Miami-Dade Police Aviation Units also assist other law enforcement agencies throughout the county in searching for suspects, missing persons, stolen cars, etc. The helicopter flying above your house or in your neighborhood may be doing any of the aforementioned activities. Generally, if a crime has been committed in your area, or if someone is missing you will see patrol cars in the area as well. In any case, if in doubt lock your doors and stay inside. If you observe anything or anyone suspicious call the police department and advise them what you have witnessed.

Q: I keep getting theses annoying "hang up" phone calls, when nothing is ever said. It is driving me crazy! What can I do?
A: Call the Police Department. We will have an officer respond to talk with you and assess the situation. The Police Department may also be able to stop the problem just by talking with the person responsible for making the calls, or we will prosecute, if necessary.

Q: Should I install a burglar alarm in my home?
A: Having an alarm system is a matter of personal choice. Some people consider an alarm to be a deterrent to would-be thieves. Others feel that the alarm gives them security when they are home or away. Alarms vary in cost, depending on the type of detection system employed. Some components are readily available at home improvement centers for do-it-yourself installation. Many licensed alarm companies are listed in the phone book. We recommend that alarm buyers get at least two bids for the same type of work and ask for references. Make certain that training is given to everyone who will use the alarm. False alarms waste police resources. A Village electrical Permit may be required if the installation on the alarm system includes electrical wiring.
b. Please register your alarm with the Police department so that we may have your emergency contact number on file and respond quickly with out delay.
c. After 10 false alarms, you will be billed $25.00 for every false alarm thereafter within a 12 month period.

911 Questions:

Q: How does 911 work?
A: All 911 calls made from the Village of Virginia Gardens are first received at the Miami-Dade County Central Dispatch Center. This center ascertains if the caller needs police, fire, or medical assistance. If fire, rescue, or medical services are needed, their staff dispatches the appropriate apparatus. If police service is required, the call is transferred to the on-duty police personnel via radio dispatch. For this reason, if you need police and dial 911 you will first speak to a 911 operator before a Virginia Gardens Police Officer will respond. This occurs in most law enforcement agencies within Miami-Dade County and is sometimes confusing to the caller.

Q: How does 911 prioritize calls?
A: All calls requiring a police response are assigned a priority. Priorities range from "1" to "3", "3" being the highest and "1" the lowest. While we understand that all callers believe their call is important, in the interest of public safety, we must have a method for determining what call should be dispatched first. While you are speaking to a call taker, he or she is entering your information into a computer. This information is transmitted to the appropriate dispatcher, who will in turn dispatch the police to the required location.
Priority 2 or 3 calls require a police response and are generally dispatched immediately. As information is being obtained from callers of an "in progress" or "high priority" incident, that information is simultaneously disseminated to the responding officers by the dispatcher.
Priority 1 calls are lower priority calls and may be an hour or longer for a police response, depending on call activity in the Village at the time.

Q. How is my 911 call processed?
A. The Miami-Dade Police Department Dispatch Center receives the 911 call and transfers the information to the Virginia Gardens Police Department via radio dispatch. The enhanced 911 System allows the dispatcher to retrieve the telephone number and address information from the computer in case the caller is disconnected from the Telecommunications Operator.

Q: Why do they ask so many questions when I call the police?
A: Telecommunications Operators are trained to get as much information as possible to best determine the nature of the problem and its seriousness. On emergency calls, the operator has already sent the information to the officer while asking additional questions.

Q: Can I have a tape made of my 911 call?
A: Yes, but you will be charged based on the time it takes to make your tape. Contact the Miami-Dade Police Department Communication Bureau at (305) 596-6263 and be very specific as to the date and time of the call.


Traffic Questions:

Q: What are the laws or regulations on car restraints for children?
A: Florida State Statute 316.613 states that if any child is 3 years of age or younger and transported in a motor vehicle, they shall be properly restrained in a separate carrier (child seat). After reaching 4 years of age, children may be secured with a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device (seat belt).

Q: How can I get someone's vehicle towed?
A: If the vehicle is on your property, call a towing service of your choice and notify the police department.

Q: What are the driving curfews for juveniles?
A: Any person who holds a drivers license and is under 17 years of age, when operating a motor vehicle after 11:00pm and before 6:00am, must be accompanied by a driver, 21 years of age or older, who holds a valid license to operate the type of vehicle being operated unless the juvenile is driving directly to or from work.
A person who holds a drivers license who is 17 years of age, when operating a motor vehicle after 1:00am and before 5:00am, must be accompanied by a driver, 21 years of age or older, who holds a valid license to operate the type of vehicle being operated unless the juvenile is driving to or from work.

Q: What should I do if a police officer stops me while I'm driving?
A: You should decrease your speed and use your signal to indicate which way you intend to pull over (always pull to the right if at all possible). You should try to pull out of the way of traffic and leave enough room so that the police vehicle behind you is also able to get out of traffic. If you are pulled over at night, try to stop in a well-lit area. Turn on your dome light and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not begin collecting your documents before being told to do so and do not exit your vehicle unless asked by the officer. Stay calm and provide the information requested by the officer relative to your driver's license, registration and insurance card. Answer questions without embellishment or storytelling. Please do not reach under the seat, into the glovebox, etc., without telling the officer what you are doing. Remember, the officer does not know who you are or what your intentions are.

Q: Where do I go to pay a traffic citation?
A: When issuing a citation, the officer will provide an envelope from the court with instructions on how to respond to the citation. Payment locations vary, depending on the type of citation and where it was issued.
Civil infractions, (moving and non moving violations) are payable in person or through the mail at the Clerk Of County Courts, Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building 1351 NW 12th Street, Room 124, Miami, Florida 33125.
Criminal traffic violations require a court appearance on the date set by the County Courts. Drivers issued criminal citations will be notified by mail to appear in court approximately 30 to 35 day following the date of issue.

Q. How can I contest a ticket?
A: If you receive a ticket that you feel was unjustified or because of circumstances beyond your control, you may contest your ticket in court.
B: You may call the Clerk of County Courts (305) 275-1111 to request a court date and obtain more information.
C: You may also complete a Request for Trial Form found inside the envelope provided by the officer.
D: For additional information on traffic citations and traffic court, visit the Clerk's web page www.miami-dadeclerk.com.

Q: What should I do if involved in a traffic crash?
A: When you are involved in a traffic crash you should stop and remain at the scene. If possible you should move your vehicle off the roadway. There is NO law in Florida that prohibits you from moving your vehicle out of the roadway after a crash; in fact, the law REQUIRES you to do so, if possible. Have someone call the police at (305) 871-3141 or 911 if there are injuries, and report the crash. Due to the mix of municipalities and unincorporated areas in Miami-Dade County, you may be asked questions in order to determine exactly what jurisdiction the crash occurred in. Do not get into an argument with the other drivers involved.

Q: What should I do if I witness a crash?
A: If you witness a crash in Virginia Gardens, stop on the side of the road, if possible, and stay there until the police can arrive. If you are not able to remain at the scene, you should call the police communications center at (305) 871-3141 or 911 if there are injuries, and advise the operator that you have witnessed the crash. The operator will forward your name and contact information to the investigating officer.

Q: I have been involved in an accident. Do I need to file a report?
A: If you are involved in a crash wherein total damage is less than $500.00, it is not necessary to report the accident, however, you should exchange driver information among the parties involved in the accident.

B: If you are involved in a crash with total damage of more than $500.00 (all vehicles or property) and there are no injuries, or criminal charges and vehicles are drivable, you are required to obtain a white crash form from any Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, or Sheriff's Office. The form should be completed with the applicable information for all vehicles involved and mailed to Tallahassee (address on the form) with a copy to your insurance company.

C: If you have been in a crash involving injury, a drunk driver, a hit and run (with the suspect's information), or if your vehicle is disabled requiring a tow, you should notify the police agency having jurisdiction where the crash occurred for a report to be completed. If the cars are interfering with traffic flow and can be moved, then you must move them out of the roadway.

Q: I observed a reckless driver. Can I report him?
A: We encourage you to report DUI and reckless drivers. To aid us in locating this violator we will need as much information as possible, such as a description of the vehicle (and driver, if possible), a tag number, direction of travel, and time lapse. If you are calling on a cell phone while following this errant driver, try to stay on the line. This will allow the dispatchers to update responding units to the violator's location and direction of travel. Never compromise your own safety or violate the laws and rules of driving that apply to you as well as everyone else on the road.

Q: My tag was stolen. Can I place a paper tag on my vehicle until I get another one?
A: When your tag is stolen a police report is required. If you know where the tag was stolen the report should be filed with the agency in that jurisdiction. If you are uncertain where that tag was taken, notify the agency having jurisdiction where the tag is registered. The law does not allow for a home-made paper tag to replace the lost or stolen tag in the interim of obtaining a replacement. A vehicle without a tag cannot be driven on public streets nor can a tag from another vehicle be used. The vehicle should not be driven until the replacement tag is obtained and attached.

Q. What can I do about speeding vehicles on my street?
A: Call the Virginia Gardens Police Department at (305) 871-3141 and explain your situation. Your complaint will be noted and efforts will be made to monitor the traffic in you area.

Q: How does traffic radar work?
A: A radar device sends out a radio signal that bounces off the approaching vehicle and returns to the device. The speed of the vehicle is displayed on the device in miles-per-hour to the operator. The "radar" guns have built-in calibrating devices to insure their accuracy. They are tested each day they are in use.

Q: I was involved in an accident and left the scene. Can I still make a report?
A: If you were involved in an accident and left the scene, the other party involved may have already made a report. If you are in the Village of Virginia Gardens, contact 305-871-3141 and have a police officer respond to investigate, otherwise, please call 911 (non-emergency) and explain your situation. You may be asked for information to assist the accident investigation. If a report was not made, you will be given instructions on how to obtain and prepare a "driver report of traffic crash" for your insurance company.

Code Enforcement Questions:

Q: Where can I find a complete listing of the Village's Ordinances?
A: You can find all of the Virginia Gardens Ordinances on the web hosted by Municode.com. Visit their site at www.municode.com and click "online codes" under "free resources." You can also find information on our Ordinances by clicking here.

Q: What is the Village's Ordinance on loud noises?
A: Virginia Gardens Code, Sec. 9-67, states that it shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, excessive, unnecessary or unusual noise. The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud, excessive, unnecessary or unusual noises in violation of this section, but this enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
(1) Radios, televisions, phonographs, musical instruments, etc.;

(2) Using, operating or permitting to be played, used or operated any radio, television, musical instrument, phonograph, stereo equipment, or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such manner as to disturb the peace or quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants in such manner as to be audible by such neighboring inhabitants.

Q: Will police respond to noise complaints?
A: If you are willing to call in a complaint against the person or persons that are creating the noise as defined in Sec. 9-67 of the Virginia Gardens Code of Ordinances, an officer will be dispatched to address the complaint. In many cases, callers reporting noise complaints prefer to remain anonymous. In those cases the complaint will be dispatched to an officer to check in the course of his duties. If the officer determines that the noise is a violation under the ordinance, he/she will address the source of the noise. If the noise has stopped by the time an officer arrives, no police action can be taken.

Q: Will police respond to a call of a barking dog?
A: An officer will be dispatched on the same basis as that of a noise complaint (above). If the dog is a nuisance on a regular basis, Miami-Dade County Animal Control should be contacted at (305) 884-1101.

Q: What is the Village's Ordinance on junk cars?
A: Virginia Gardens Code, Sec. 9-46 states that it shall be unlawful for any person to keep or permit the keeping of a motor vehicle which is not in operable condition, on a property in the Village, which is zoned for residential, multi-family or commercial uses. For the purposes of this section, a motor vehicle shall be deemed not to be in operative condition if, among other things, it is not equipped with headlights or tires, if its engine cannot be started or if there is not a current license plate affixed, issued by the state and such conditions have existed for a period of seven days.

Q: Where can I find information on the Village of Virginia Gardens Code of ordinances?
A: You can find them at, City Hall, and on our web site.

Q: Can I drink alcoholic beverages in public areas within Virginia Gardens?
A: The consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed in public areas. Open alcohol is not permitted on any public property in the Village of Virginia Gardens. Please see Virginia Gardens Ordinance Sec. 4-6 (b).

Q: How do I get information about the Alarm Ordinance?
The purpose of the Alarm Ordinance is to encourage security alarm users and alarm businesses to maintain the operational reliability and the proper use of alarm systems thereby limiting unnecessary police emergency responses to false alarms/alarm malfunctions.
You can find information about alarm ordinances by visiting www.municode.com and click on "online codes" under "free resources." You can also find information about our alarm ordinance by clicking here.

For more information and assistance with code violations, you may contact the following departments:

Call Code Enforcement: 305-871-3141
* If you observe a vehicle parked on private property that has no tag or if the tag is expired.
* If you observe a residence with trash, garbage, furniture, abandoned refrigerator with a door attached or other code violations.
* If you observe a neighbor repairing or building a structure without a city permit.
Call Traffic Maintenance - Electrical Shop: 305-592-8925
* If a streetlight is out or very dim.
* If a streetlight needs to be installed to light up a dark area.
* Before calling, be sure to get a correct house number or the number from the power pole.
Call Maintenance Department: 305-871-6104
* If bushes impede visibility and need to be trimmed away from corners and streets.
* If trees need to be trimmed around streetlights or power lines.
Call Traffic Maintenance - Sign Shop: 305-592-0830
* If a street sign needs repaired, replaced, etc.
Call Traffic Maintenance: 305-596-8570
* If a street is in need of repair, potholes, etc.

Commendation/Complaint Questions:

Q: How do I commend or complain about a Virginia Gardens Police Officer or other employee?
A: We prefer that you start with the officer/employee's immediate supervisor; in the case of a police officer, that would be their Lieutenant. You may find out who the supervisor is by asking the officer/employee or contacting the Village Clerk's Office at (305) 871-6104. You may also contact the Chief of Police during regular business hours at (305) 871-3141. Correspondence may be addressed to the attention of Chief of Police, at 6498 NW 38 Terrace, Virginia Gardens, Florida, 33166.