MIAMI (CBSMiami) — After the announcement that Miami Police Major Delrish Moss will head to the city of Ferguson to become the city’s new chief of police, the major sat down with CBS4’s Jim Defede to talk about the challenges that await him in Missouri.READ MORE: Car Fire On Turnpike Stalls Traffic
Moss received a big round of applause and a warm embrace as he was honored by colleagues at the Miami Police Department Friday.
“It’s a bittersweet moment for me, I am gonna miss you,” said Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes speaking in front of dozens of officers on the force. “I trust your judgment, your character and your integrity. And that’s always something that will be missing in my life from you.”
In Ferguson, he’ll take over a police department that was at the epicenter of racial unrest following the police-involved shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014.
“I think the biggest challenge is to change a sort of culture, if you will. Both from the community’s perspective and from the police department’s perspective,” said Moss. “Ya know, this was a community that was 99 percent white at one point and then suddenly, there was a change. And now it’s 70 percent black. And one of the things I noticed while I was out there was there was a clear divide in the perception of how services are received, the perception of how the police react to certain people.”READ MORE: Florida’s Monoclonal Antibody Sites Closed Until Further Notice
Moss said tackling that divide would come with time in a town of 21,000 people, where only three police officers are black and just two are women.
“The white people had a very good perception of the police department and the police officers. And a lot of the black people, obviously, did not. So we gotta figure out a way to make it so that everyone has a good perception,” he continued.
That perception is seen in South Florida, as well, as the rest of the country.
“That’s actually true, not just in Miami, but it’s true nationwide,” Moss added. “And that’s one of the things that Ferguson is gonna offer, as far as a challenge is concerned, because if we can make some positive in-roads there, I think that will sort of be a seed that will plant good fruit.”MORE NEWS: Three People Injured In NW Dade Drive-By Shooting
Moss will begin planting those seeds when he starts his first day on the Ferguson police force on May 11th.