MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The city of Miami has a new police chief, but they won’t have to change the name on the door. One day earlier than expected, Miami City Manager Johnny Martinez made his pick to replace fired chief Miguel Exposito, and his choice was the man who stepped in when Exposito left, acting chief Manuel Orosa.
Orosa, a 31-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, took the reins of the department temporarily upon Exposito’s departure, and was part of a nationwide search for Exposito’s permanent replacement.
Orosa made the list of ten candidates considered by Martinez and others on a selection board, and was in a list of 5 finalists presented to Martinez this week.
Martinez had been expected to name his choice Friday, but announced his decision Thursday.
“We had a field of candidates. I thought he did an excellent job the three months he’s been on the job. I think he has the personality to bring back the police force together to act as one,” said Martinez.
Under the Miami City Charter, the city manager has sole responsibility for naming the Chief of Police.
Despite the national search, started before Exposito’s firing because the former chief was set to retire in January, the in-house selection of Orosa was not a surprise to City Hall insiders.
Exposito was fired September 9th after a contentious marathon City Commission session. Technically, the hearing was prompted when Martinez suspended Exposito for disobeying an order not to demote three high-ranking police officers. Martinez calls Exposito insubordinate, and fired him subject to approval of the commission.
Beyond the formal reason, Exposito and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado had fallen into a war of words, with each questioning the competency of the other, a battle that led to the appointment of an outside consultant to examine operation of the department.
The report produced no smoking-gun reason to fire Exposito, but the demotion controversy provided one, and Exposito was gone.
Comissioners told CBS4’s David Sutta that they like what they’ve seen so far and hopes that the new chief lasts longer than the last.
“We are hopefully that we don’t have repetition of what happened with our last chief,” said Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez.
Orosa has had a varied career with the Miami Police Department. As commander of Criminal Investigations Section, he played a significant role in major cases including, police shootings, serial rapist, serial robberies and in the successful resolution of the murder of a police officer. He worked on a program for Miami TV about homicide detectives, and played a role in major events such as the Free Trade Areas of the Americas Conference and the Hemisphere Police Chief’s Conference.
His caretaker role as acting chief has won him some praise for handling problems left by the disruption of Exposito’s firing, and budget cuts forced on the department by the city.
Orosa will now lead a divided force that as of last month is under federal investigation for a series of deadly police involved shootings but has been cooperating with federal authorities.
“We are not here to lay blame or cast suspicion,” said Orosa.
As the new Miami Police Chief, he plans to have more man power on the streets to curb crime in troubled neighborhoods. Plans are in the works to hire 54 new officers.
“More officers in uniform out on the street and less tactical. You still need both but we don’t need such a large amount of tactical officers out there,” said Orosa.
In the midst of a troubling time for the department, Orosa hopes his new leadership style will bring them back in line.
“Basically it’s just treating everyone fairly and making sure you are consistent about it. That was part of the problem that some administrations run into. You play favorites and people resent it and factions are created,” said Orosa.
Orosa’s appointment takes effect immediately.