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Plenty Of People Want Miami Police Chief’s Job

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(Photo Source: www.miami-police.org)
Miguel Exposito

MIAMI (CBS4) – The City of Miami is looking for a new police chief as the suspended top cop fights to keep his job, but this search started long before Miguel Exposito’s suspension.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, 49 people have already applied to become Miami’s next police chief, including a handful of high-ranking members of the department and newly named interim Chief Manuel Orosa.

Exposito, a 37-year department veteran, was suspended Tuesday by City Manager Johnny Martinez. He lost a court challenge Thursday when he tried to disqualify two of five city commissioners from voting on his fate because he claimed they were biased against him. The judge threw out the request.

Commissioners will meet Friday at 9:00 a.m. and decide whether to reinstate him or terminate him.

The process to find a new top cop, however, started long before Exposito’s suspension.

According to the Herald, the city first posted the job in July, six months before Exposito’s planned retirement early next year. Exposito, by contract, was supposed to retire by January 12th but vowed not to go even before this week’s suspension.

More would-be chiefs are expected to submit applications in the coming weeks.

The list of applicants includes the three hopefuls who, along with Exposito, were finalists for the job two years ago: Orosa and former assistant chiefs Adam Burden and Thomas Cannon. Exposito demoted Burden and Cannon after taking office, prompting the two to leave the department.

Also on the list is Assistant City Manager Luis Cabrera, who worked as Exposito’s deputy chief until late last year. After a dispute with Exposito, Cabrera, widely believed to have been Mayor Tomás Regalado’s top pick for chief in 2009, was moved to the city manager’s office. He is still on the police payroll, though Martinez has said his office would reimburse the police for Cabrera’s pay.

Cabrera said Wednesday he intends to remove his name from the list.

Two members of Miami police brass have applied:

• Maj. Craig McQueen, head of the department’s community affairs division.

• Cmdr. Ricardo Roque, head of the department’s Flagami unit.

When Martinez kept Exposito from demoting Roque and two other senior officers last month, Exposito stripped the trio of their responsibilities anyway. Martinez cited the dispute as one of his reasons for suspending Exposito.

Several lieutenants from within the department have also submitted their names, including Lt. Rodolfo Llanes, whom Orosa moved to internal affairs on Tuesday.

Twenty-seven people have applied from 17 other states and Puerto Rico. Four applicants are from within Florida but outside Miami-Dade and Broward.

Among the local candidates are:

• Gwendolyn Boyd, a former Miami major and Miramar police chief who headed North Miami Police before she was fired in 2008. She now teaches at Broward Community College.

• John Bukata of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who is the chief for the Oakland Park district.

• Amos Rojas Jr., the retiring special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Miami field office.

• Ralph Suarez, a former Miami police lieutenant who is a captain over investigations with Miami Gardens Police.

In its job posting earlier this summer, the city said it was looking for applicants with 15 years’ experience, including management experience, and a bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in public administration, police science, criminal justice, management or a related field.

At the time of the posting, Martinez said he had no plans to fire Exposito before his retirement date but was following the recommendation of former FBI field chief Paul Philip, who in a review of the department earlier this year suggested Miami carry out a national search for its next chief.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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