MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Miami Beach commission officially approved the City Manager’s pick as their new police chief.
Last week City Manager Jorge Gonzalez, after reviewing nearly 80 applications from across the country, nominated interim police chief Ray Martinez to be the one to take the reigns of the troubled Miami Beach Police Department. He also selected outgoing Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton as deputy chief.
After a heated discussion, the commission voted 4-2 in favor of Martinez.
“I am excited to take on this challenge, and I look forward to continuing to serve the residents, businesses and visitors of this great community in this new capacity,” said Martinez. “I feel honored and privileged to be chosen to serve as the Miami Beach Chief of Police.”
Martinez will be sworn in Thursday by Judge Ivan Fernandez.
At the start of the selection process, many commissioners had said they wanted the next chief to be someone from outside the department. Before casting his vote on Wednesday, Commissioner Edward Tobin said he couldn’t believe after a nationwide search the top four candidates were all within a 10 mile radius of the beach. Some said some they had changed their minds due to Martinez’s handling of the department since being named assistant chief five months ago.
Martinez, 52, served more than two decades with the Miami Police Department before he left and went to Miami Beach police where he served as assistant chief overseeing the administration bureau. He will replace Chief Carlos Noriega whose tenure was marred by several scandals including last July’s incident in which an on-duty city officer who had allegedly been drinking at the Clevelander hotel took a woman on a ride on a police ATV and ran over two people on the beach.
Then there was the high-profile police involved shooting over the last Memorial Day weekend where officers fired more than 100 rounds at a man who was driving erratically. Several innocent bystanders were hit. The shooting is still under investigation by the state attorney’s office.
Since being tapped as the interim chief last November, Martinez said he’s started to bring about “changes in policing, accountability and ownership of our actions. Supervisors, including myself, have taken training in ethics and professionalism,” according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.