An experienced law enforcement leader will serve as the acting police major in Miami Lakes after Maj. Javier Ruiz accepted a transfer within the Miami-Dade Police Department.
“While Major Ruiz has had an incredibly positive impact on policing in the town and we will all miss him, I ask that you all join me in wishing Major Ruiz great success in his new career challenge,” Miami Lakes Town Manager Edward Pidermann told town staff in a May 22 email.
Lt. Jose Gonzalez, who was already a member of the Miami-Dade Police Dept.’s district force that is contracted to protect the town, was named the acting major that same day.
Ruiz was assigned to Miami Lakes in Sept. 2017. In an email to Pidermann, Ruiz said he looked forward to his next opportunity but will miss his “Miami Lakes family,” including the mayor and council, town management and staff.
“It has been my honor to serve with all of you and a wonderful privilege to serve the citizens of this community,” Ruiz said.
Gonzalez has applied for the job. Resumes are being accepted by the police department until May 30.
Pidermann said at that point, the town will go through the review process with the police department. The town manager will make the official appointment.
Gonzalez, who has nearly 30 years with the county police department and served in town for five years, has had a balanced career, Pidermann said.
“Lt. Gonzalez has a lot of experience, not only in operations but with the administrative side of commanding a police force,” Pidermann said.
“He knows the town and its expectations for community policing very well. The transition will be seamless. He’s worked very well with Major Ruiz.”
Gonzalez, 52, lives in Miami-Dade County.
“We’ll continue Maj. Ruiz’s mission, his plan for crime-fighting,” Gonzalez said. “I hope to continue to tackle vehicle burglaries because that is the biggest concern we have here. Vehicle burglaries are challenging because it’s occurring here as well as elsewhere in the county and in Broward County.”
He is an advocate of “high visibility patrols,” which include police cars with lights flashing that drivers see on the avenues at town borders and around the Palmetto Expressway exits.
“We want people to come into town and see an officer on their way in or on their way out,” Gonzalez said. “So people coming into town feel safe, and if you’re coming to do bad things, you’ll leave.”
Gonzalez began his career in his native New York City, where he was a member of the New York Police Department for three years, working in midtown Manhattan and on a city-wide task force.
His Miami-Dade Police career started in Liberty City. His experience includes narcotics; robbery intervention and investigations; community policing in Kendall and elsewhere and as a team leader and commander for a SWAT unit, when he was promoted to lieutenant in 2014. He also commanded a platoon in the Northside District. At the Port of Miami, he was in charge of incident containment, dignitary protection and other responsibilities.
In Miami Lakes, Gonzalez will supervise 46 sworn officers and four civilian staffers. He is in the state deferred retirement option program and will retire in 2027.
He and his wife of 30 years have raised four sons who played sports in Miami Lakes: Two are police officers, one is beginning a career in the fire service and the fourth is a civilian.
Gonzalez called Ruiz his mentor and “a pleasure to work for. … I was honored when he asked me to come to the town.”