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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade Police Department has identified the officer who was tragically killed in an on-duty crash on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Twitter, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez identified the officer as 46-year-old Jermaine Brown.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with Reginald Tookes, who had met Brown when they were police explorers together.
Tookes said, “He was very supportive of me as a teenager and he wanted to get involved in the police experience. He did everything from K-9 to Marine Patrol to work with the ATV. He always worked with the pubic and always had a smile on his face and he would always stop and talk with you. He had a great smile and a great sense of humor.”
“Earlier in the day I had seen him on his ATV and I thought that is his new toy and then later in the day I found out what happened and it sunk in. We always seem to lose good people too soon,” he said. “That’s all he wanted to do is help people. He just wanted to help everybody plain and simple.”
Miami-Dade P.B.A. President Steadman Stahl told D’Oench, “It is heart breaking. We are a few weeks away from Christmas and he was the father of 3 children. This is the last thing that anyone needs to deal with. This is heartbreaking.”
“Everybody who he worked with said he was a cop’s cop,” he said. “He was always dependable. He always had a smile on his face. He worked with different units. He was very intertwined with the community. Everyone knew you could count on him. He was always looking out for the little guy.”
Stahl said, “You worry about police officers getting shot or hurt in knife fights but accidents are often the hardest ones to deal with. He was on his way to help some officers on his ATV and to back up officers. You just don’t expect things like this to happen. You never know when something like this is going to happen.”
Stahl said he was struck by the turnout of people during the procession Wednesday night as Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue took Brown’s body from Jackson South Hospital to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiners office—-a tradition for those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“If you look for the good in the bad,” he said, “It is nice to see the community coming together and people out there. It gives us hope that many in the community support law enforcement.”
The statement from Perez reads, “It is with a heavy heart that I can now confirm the tragic death of Miami-Dade Police Department Officer Jermaine Brown. Assigned to our South District, Officer Brown was fatally injured while conducting an enforcement detail near a canal bank. Officer Brown lost his life while protecting our community, as he responded to assist fellow officers. We ask that our Miami-Dade community keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate through this tragic and sudden loss.”
Brown had been with the department for 15 years.
Officer Brown leaves behind a wife and 3 children. His wife is a sergeant in the Miami-Dade police training bureau.
Brown’s ATV crashed against a tree next to canal just off South Dixie Highway at Southwest 211th Street.
The officer was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital South in serious condition, where he was later pronounced dead.
“Unfortunately we’re here today to talk about a tragedy that occurred in our department to one of the officers that protects our communities,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez on Wednesday, pausing periodically to fight back tears while speaking to the media outside the hospital.
He said the officer was operating an ATV vehicle while handling a complaint about illegal activity in the area that was received during a citizens’ advisory committee meeting.
Full comments from Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez:
Perez described the illegal activity as nuisance-type activities and some thefts.
“During one of the attempted enforcement actions where the officer was trying to get to another location where he was being summoned to, he had an unfortunate accident that is currently under investigation so it will reveal what actually occurred,” he said.
Perez described Brown as a devoted husband and father.
Just after 7 p.m., a large police procession followed the officer’s body as it was transported from Jackson Memorial South to the medical examiner’s office, closing all northbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike during the transport.
The procession of police cruisers with their lights flashing is a tradition honoring officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete. The cause of the crash is under investigation.