The City of Miami Police Department (MPD) will get a new top cop next year, and more than 30 applicants from around the U.S. have thrown their hats into the ring to replace the current chief of police, Jorge Colina.
Colina, a 30-year veteran of the MPD, has led the department for three years. Earlier this year, he announced that he would step down in January, sparking a nationwide search for a replacement.
The search comes on the heels of major unrest and increased scrutiny of American police departments following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Colina himself came under fire this year when he was accused in June of using the N-word during a law-enforcement training session in 1997, and in September when he was named in a lawsuit alleging widespread corruption in the MPD by a fired detective who testified against another officer in an FBI investigation.
In a video message about his retirement, Colina said he was satisfied that he'd accomplished the goals he'd set out when he was named chief in 2018, including a reduction in crime rates.
In response to a public-records request, New Times received copies of the 36 applications from those who seek to become Miami's next police chief. The applicants include assistant chiefs from Colina's own administration, officers from local police departments, and law-enforcement officials from a number of states outside Florida, including New York, Texas, and Arizona.
Among the group are noteworthy contenders, including Malik Aziz of the Dallas Police Department, who testified before President Barack Obama's task force on 21st Century Policing and was endorsed by the NAACP for a position as Milwaukee's police chief; Anita Najiy, the MPD's first female and first Black assistant chief; and Anthony Schembri, who served as the United Nations representative of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
There are also some local figures with controversial pasts, including James Dobson, who was fired from his job as Opa-locka police chief in August after allegedly failing to reform the troubled department (he then sued the city for $4 million); Jose Seiglie, who oversaw anti-gang units at the MPD with officers who killed numerous suspects and faced multiple scandals; and former MPD deputy chief Luis Cabrera, whom former MPD police chief Miguel Exposito accused of compromising evidence; Exposito also questioned Cabrera's mental state when he applied for a position in Phoenix in 2016.
Of the 36 applicants, 33 percent identified themselves as white non-Hispanic, 33 percent as Black non-Hispanic, and 28 percent as Hispanic/Latino. Six percent identified as two or more races.
Only 11 applicants reported having any proficiency in Spanish; the other 25 speak only English.
Here is a list of the applicants, along with their current positions and locations.
Adam Burden II: Former assistant to the city manager, North Miami Police Department; North Miami, Florida.
Albert Pleasant IV: Special agent, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; Randolph, Texas.
Anita Najiy: Former assistant chief of police, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Anthony Schembri: Former secretary, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.
Armando Aguilar: Assistant chief of police, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Brian Griefer: Retired lieutenant of detectives, Bergen County Prosecutor's Office; Hackensack, New Jersey.
Cherise Gause: Assistant chief of police, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Craig McQueen: Retired police major, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Daniel Brown: Retired chief of police, Winslow Police Department; Winslow, Arizona.
DeShawn Beaufort: Inspector, Philadelphia Police Department; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Francisco Fernandez: Police major, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Holland Jones: Toll road operations commander, Harris County Constable's Office; Houston, Texas.
Jacob Ruiz: Police major and director of media and public relations, Osceola County Sheriff's Office; Kissimmee, Florida.
James Dobson: Former chief of police, Opa-locka Police Department; Opa-locka, Florida.
James Lowery Jr.: Deputy chief of technical services division, Arlington Police Department; Arlington, Texas.
James Pendley: Assistant chief of police, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office; Jacksonville, Florida.
Jason Lando: Police commander, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jesus Campa: CEO, America's Best Strategic Security Group; El Paso, Texas.
Jesus Pintos: Deputy chief of Bronx Patrol Bureau, New York Police Department; New York, New York.
Joel Fitzgerald Sr.: Chief of police, Waterloo Police Department; Waterloo, Iowa.
Jose Seiglie: Major, Doral Police Department; Doral, Florida.
Joseph Lestrange: Division chief, Homeland Security Investigations, Washington, D.C.
Joseph Sullivan: Retired deputy commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Luis Cabrera: Chief of police, Biscayne Park Police Department; Biscayne Park, Florida.
Malik Aziz: Police night commander, Dallas Police Department; Dallas, Texas.
Manuel Morales: Assistant chief of police, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Mark Poland: Undersheriff, Loudon County Sheriff's Office; Leesburg, Virginia.
Richard Vasquez: CEO, 221 Investigations, Inc.; New York, New York.
Robert W. Clark: Senior superintendent, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service; Port of Spain.
Robin Starks: Owner, Starks Productions and Management, Inc.; Miami, Florida.
Ronald Papier: Deputy chief of police, Miami Police Department; Miami Florida.
Ruamen De La Rua: Police officer, Miami Police Department; Miami, Florida.
Steven McCarver: Chief of police, United States Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Police; Omaha, Nebraska.
Troy Williams: Police supervisor, Portage Police Department; Portage, Indiana.
Vito Roselli: Senior supervisory special agent, South Jersey Federal Bureau of Investigations; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
William Taylor: Chief deputy, DeKalb County Marshal's Office; Decatur, Georgia.
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