In 1988, two Miami-Dade Police Department officers were shot and killed in the line of duty and a Miami Police Department officer died as a result of injuries received in an on-duty accident. In 1989, an officer’s son was struck by a car and suffered severe head trauma, and an officer’s daughter developed a neurological disorder, which has left her ventilator dependent ever since. There was no resource or organization in place to assist these officers and others who were facing devastating situations until POAT was formed.
The first major grant was given by The Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami, which functions for the benefit of all law enforcement and fire personnel in the Greater Miami area.
The responsibilities of POAT are twofold. First, to provide financial assistance to officers disabled in the line of duty, suffering from chronic or terminal illness, or the victim of some other catastrophic circumstance. POAT has paid, and will continue to pay, health care costs that insurance does not cover and other expenses when the need arises. In all cases, financial assistance is given when all other means have been exhausted. Secondly, POAT provides educational assistance to the spouses and children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in Miami-Dade County. To read more about assistance, click here.
After Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in August 1992, POAT stepped in to assist officers whose homes and lives were devastated by the storm. Through cash advances, supplying building material, and providing necessities such as food, water, and clothing, POAT helped more than 900 law enforcement families. With the certainty that their homes and families were secure, these officers were able to continue helping our devastated community during their 12-hour shifts.
POAT has also been called upon to assist the families, as well as the agency involved, when officers have been killed in the line of duty, and other deaths involving law enforcement officers and their immediate family members. The assistance provided is primarily financial, but has included making funeral arrangements, counseling, and handling insurance and other matters for the family. For information on the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony, which memorializes these brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, click here.
POAT obtains funding through private and corporate donations, payroll deductions, and various events held throughout the year. POAT depends on volunteers consisting mostly of law enforcement personnel and their families for its fundraisers and events which helps keep administrative costs at a minimum. It is a federally recognized charity under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax deductible. POAT is also registered as a non-profit charitable organization with the State of Florida. To date, POAT has provided more than $5 million in assistance to over 700 officers.
The Board of Trustees is comprised of representatives from the different levels of law enforcement in Miami-Dade County (federal, state, county, and municipal) as well as members from the Miami-Dade County business community and law enforcement related fraternal and labor organizations. The Board of Trustees and staff meet on a monthly basis to discuss and vote on various assistance cases, fundraisers, and other matters pertinent to the operation of the organization.
POAT is committed to providing financial relief whenever needed to the more than 10,000 sworn officers working in Miami-Dade County. This commitment has created a sense of belonging and the knowledge that all officers are truly members of the law enforcement family.
The tragedy and loss experienced by members of local law enforcement were the impetus that created POAT. It has flourished due to the generosity and compassion of the citizens and the business community of Miami-Dade County along with members of the law enforcement family. Each donation and fundraiser helps to offset the financial burdens associated with illness, injury, disability and death. Without the funds to perpetuate its programs, POAT would be unable to provide the assistance so many officers need. POAT’s motto expresses its ideology, “Serving Those Who Serve.”