MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — History was made Monday in Miami Gardens, as the city’s first-ever female police chief was sworn in.
Delma Noel-Pratt literally stepped up into the role, using a small platform to stand behind the podium for her first remarks as chief.
“A lot of good things come in small packages,” she joked.
With 24 years of law enforcement experience under her belt, it’s no surprise a who’s who of Police leaders from various departments came out to support Chief Noel Pratt.
Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates was there, along with Noel-Pratt’s former boss from Miami-Dade Police Department, Director Juan Perez.
“Having a piece of us, of Miami-Dade Police, in Miami Gardens, integrated here it’s going to enhance the relationships. Really it’s an exciting time,” Director Perez told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Chief Noel-Pratt now leads a department responsible for overseeing the safety of some 112,000 residents in a city that has seen it’s share of violence.
“It should never be us against the community. Instead it has to be us working in partnership with the community,” she said to a round of applause. “We have to work together to reach solutions. We can’t strive to meet expectations, but instead exceed expectations.”
She’s the city’s 3rd chief in many years.
Stephen Johnson was arrested and fired in 2015 for soliciting a prostitute in an undercover sting, and Antonio Brooklen suddenly resigned in October of last year citing family issues.
“The city has unfortunately seen a few swearing-in ceremonies for police chiefs in recent years so why do you think this one is going to be different,” Pastrana asked Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
“First of all, hope springs eternal! She’s extraordinary. How she worked her way up through law enforcement,” Mayor Gilbert said. “I know that she’s the right person.”
With her new role, Chief Noel-Pratt knows she isn’t just the city’s first female police chief, she’s also a role model to little girls in the community.
“It’s very overwhelming but I’m glad to be in that position. Like I said, I have three daughters of my own. So just seeing the smiles on their faces, it makes my heart feel really, really good,” Chief Noel-Pratt said.
The chief said her goal is to reduce fear, crime and disorder in Miami Gardens and she plans to get started right away.