MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s the first day on the job for the man hired to be a watchful eye over embattled Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito. Paul Philip is a former FBI chief hired by Miami City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. to be his special advisor on public safety.
The city manager can fire the chief of police but has to show cause for the termination and many observers think that’s what this new position is all about.
When Philip showed up at Miami’s Administration Building Tuesday morning for his first day, he told CBS4’s Gary Nelson, “I’m very excited.”
Walking into work Tuesday morning, Philip said he’s very comfortable with his new assignment.
“I give advice. That’s what I do, I give advice, so I’ll be giving advice. Nothing new,” said Phillip.
Philip said he had no preconceived notions and that he did not come in to play the role of hatchet man. He said he had a brief, cordial meeting with Exposito and will complete his work and report to the manager. He will not apply for or accept the job of police chief. He will work 20-hours a week, earning $33.50 an hour. After 11 months he will make his final recommendations.
He’ll oversee a seemingly dysfunctional Miami police department and its increasingly embattled police chief. Chief Exposito has clashed publically with Miami mayor Tomas Regalado, commissioner Richard Dunn and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle over a recent rash of police-involved shootings and controversial corruption probes. Chief Exposito has also accused the mayor of trying to intervene in a probe of illegal gambling machines.
Chief Exposito will retain his job while Philip examines all aspects of the police department, from morale to policy to promotions in the ranks. Crapp said he hired Philip because he needed someone with law enforcement expertise to provide insight about the way the department operates. Philip will send Crapp weekly reports of his findings.
A memo from the manager calls on Philip to:
Provide recommendations to the City Manager regarding the oversight and management of the police department.
Assess the current department succession plan for all ranks.
Assess the morale of the department.
It’s largely viewed that Philip has been brought in to provide ammunition that the mayor and administration might use to shoot down the controversial chief of police. But Philip disagrees.
“That is pretty ridiculous,” he said. “If there was a notion that there was a preconceived result that they wanted to have early they should have hired somebody else,” he said.
Philip said he will assist with mending the battle between the two parties and “smooth some things out.”
Chief Exposito issued a terse “no comment” about the hiring of Philip and Mayor Regalado declined comment too. His office noted that the city manager is the police chief’s boss and the one with the power to hire and fire.
Miami Commissioner Richard Dunn, angry over what he calls a lack of response from the chief over the police involved shootings, welcomes Philip’s hiring.
Dunn did not sound like he wanted to wait for the findings of his upcoming inquiry. He concedes his mind is largely made up and he has pressed for the city manager to fire Exposito. Dunn said, “I think you already know the answer to that question. Nothing has changed.”
Once the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office, Philip led Operation Greenpalm, a major public corruption scandal and the search for Andrew Cunanan, who was wanted for killing famed designer Gianni Versace on the front steps of his South Beach mansion.