MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two high-level sources tell CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that Miami’s Interim Police Chief Manny Morales will soon be named the city’s next police chief.

The sources say it will probably become official next week after the Miami mayor meets with the city manager.

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Morales said he had not been informed that this was going to happen, but he said he had hoped this would be the case.

In an exclusive interview, Morales said, “I absolutely would be honored if offered the position full time. It would mean validation of 28 years of hard work in the Miami Police Department.”

Morales joined the department in 1994 as an officer and started his career in law enforcement when he was a military police officer in the U.S. Army for nearly 4 years.

He has been interim police chief since October after then former Police Chief Art Acevedo was fired.

The department has 1,273 sworn officers and 399 civilian employees.

Morales has worked as a patrolman and in the field training office in Model City, Little Haiti and the Flagami NET areas.

WATCH Part 2 Of CBS4’s Peter D’Oench’s Interview With Manny Morales

 

For the past three years, he has been in charge of the department’s uniform division and crime prevention teams. He oversaw the Bomb Squad, SWAT ad Homeland Security. He has worked in all 3 divisions of the department.

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Morales was asked about his first 100 days as interim chief as of January 23rd.

”So far,” he said, “this has gone above my expectations. There have been some challenges along the way, but my primary mission has always been to hold the sanctity of all life above anything else here in the City of Miami.”

“In that 100 day period, we were able to reduce our homicides when compared to the previous 100 day period by 74 percent. We reduced the number of people shot by 5 percent and decreased the number of incidents where firearms were discharged in the city by 17 percent.”

He said he realized that it was vital to have good relations with the community and the city commission.

“I feel being genuine and having an open dialogue is important,” he said. “At the end of the day, these are the two groups you really have to put your main priorities and all of your energies with getting them to buy into my vision in terms of what we can do for the community.”

“The community demands that type of policing. As I sit here and develop my plan and my vision, the folks that can carry this out are the police officers and the sergeants on the street day in and day out, risking their lives, when we have seen a week of incredible bloodshed of police across the nation.”

“I am cognizant that every day police officers go out and risk their lives for the community. So, I am grateful to them and they are my true heroes.”

He said, “It is so important that our community understands our deepest desire is to make sure that they feel safe and not fear crime and we allow our children to go out in every neighborhood of our city and play safely in their front yard without having to worry if their lives are at risk. That is our biggest challenge.”

Art Acevedo has sued the city and the City Manager and three City Commissioners and claims he was fired because he was a whistleblower and exposed wrongdoing by city officials who, he said, interfered with police by using the police department for their own benefit.

Morales was asked about that and had some strong words.

”There is a lot of litigation and a lot of false narratives out there,” he said. “That will all be sorted out in court.”

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He said, “I can absolutely guarantee to you Peter and the people out there listening in the street, that when all the facts come out, whether it be litigation. Once the litigation is over and all the folks that were negatively impacted by his actions and this will come out… the community is going to be shocked when they heard the real events taking place behind the scenes at the Miami Police Department.”

Peter D'Oench