MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — Miami Gardens’ new police chief isn’t wasting any time getting to know the community he serves.
On Tuesday, Chief Antonio Brooklen, along with several other officers, rode through the city on his bicycle in an effort to engage the community in a more personal, accessible way.
He rode to a turkey giveaway in District 2, chatted with residents and even did a little dancing.
From there, he stopped by an elementary school and spoke with students, many of whom said they wanted to be police officers.
Brooklen has been an officer since he was 18 years old, first in Miami-Dade, then in Miami Gardens.
He says there’s been a warm reception to the “biking on the beat” idea.
“A lot of people blowing their horns,” he said. “It’s just establishing relationship. When you establish relationships, the way to make that relationship grow is face time, listening. Those barriers that exist on TV and what’s happening across the country, they don’t exist here.”
And while the city has it’s fair share of crime and controversy, Brooklen says, to him, the issues are personal.
“Because I’m from here, I take ownership of it,” he said. “Whether it’s good or bad, I will get to the bottom of it.”
When he was sworn in as chief, Brooklen vowed transparency.
He said he won’t tolerate misconduct from his officers.