MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The boxes are packed, the farewells continue.
Thursday was the final day on the job for outgoing Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez who says he’ll miss the men and women of the department.
Martinez said he’s looking forward to spending time with his family. He’s also looking forward to his new job as the security director of the Ultra Music Festival.
Martinez has been a law enforcement officer for 35 years. But now he’s ready to start a brand new chapter.
“It’s really been an incredible career and I will miss it a little bit but I’m excited also to move on to the next phase of my life,” said Martinez.
Martinez retired, in part, because of a new administration at City Hall.
“I gotta say I’m not going to miss the politics of what goes on in the city. It’s part of the job but it certainly makes the job more difficult,” said Martinez.
The city’s new mayor, Philip Levine, and commissioners are looking for big changes in the department and Wednesday they confirmed former Aurora, Colorado police chief Dan Oates as Martinez’s successor.
“There’s a lot to be done. I need to learn the city, I need to learn the community and the issues,” said Oates.
Looking back on his long career, Martinez believes one of his biggest accomplishments was getting tough on the wild festivities on South Beach during Memorial Day weekend without officers firing their weapons with deadly results like they did in 2011 before he was chief.
“We really re-engineered, changed how we managed from a police perspective, from a law enforcement perspective how Memorial Day was dealt with,” said Martinez.
With Martinez out and Oates not starting until June there will be no one in the office working as the actual police chief for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. Martinez said he made sure there was a plan in place that will be carried out without him. It calls for the City Manager to mostly be put in charge of the weekend.
And where will Martinez be over the holiday weekend?
“I’ll be in the Keys,” he said with a chuckle.
Martinez said he hopes Oates will receive the support he’s had from City Hall to work on administrative issues in the department, especially staffing. He said the department has had the same number of officers for last 13 years despite the fact that the population has grown.