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DORAL (CBSMiami) – With just 125 officers, Doral’s police department got volumes of praise Thursday from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
“It is an honor for me to be with you, people who are not only doing the work, but living the values that we talk about every day,” Lynch told a gathering of officers at Doral’s police headquarters.
Doral police have never shot and killed anyone. The tiny department is a model for intense training in community policing, avoiding use of force, playing it smart and safe, and a pioneer in adhering to a program established by the Justice Department.
“The city of Doral is one of the places that we look to as an example of so many things,” Lynch said.
That is in sharp contrast to the small town of Ferguson Missouri, where the fatal shooting of a young black man set off a national uproar.
Lynch’s Justice Department sued Ferguson on Wednesday for backing out of an agreement to reform its history of racist police practices, detailed by federal investigators following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
Also, there is the city of Miami. The Justice Department blasted the city in 2013 after 33 fatal shootings by police in less than three years, ordering Miami to agree to federal oversight. But 2 and 1/2 years later there is no agreement. Mayor Tomas Regalado told CBS4 News, however, that one is imminent. Regalado said the agreement was delayed due to concerns by the city about the length of time the federal oversight would last, and the expense it would pose.
“I think that the city deserves to have closure to those days that were not good to the city of Miami,” Regalado told CBS4 News Thursday, discussing the tentative deal that has been reached with Washington.
A source close to the talks told CBS4 News that Miami will agree to a former Tampa police chief monitoring its cops for the feds through much of 2018. The attorney general stopped just short of confirming Thursday that a deal has been done.
“I don’t have any announcements now. We do hope to have information for you on that very soon,” Lynch said in response to a question from CBS4’s Gary Nelson. Lynch, in fact, did not speak harshly of Miami officials, saying they have worked in harmony to resolve their differences.
As for Doral’s finest, they took Lynch’s visit as affirmation of fine work.
“It’s an honor to have her here,” said Sgt. Ernesto Garciga. “We work with the community all the time. That’s what we do here, we serve the community.”
The attorney general will spend two days in Miami-Dade, meeting with high school students, citizens and community leaders on Friday to discuss police and community relations, under the general theme of striving to get along.