Town weighs options for police protection

Featured By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, May 17, 2023

     Miami-Dade County will have an elected sheriff who will begin serving in January 2025.

     How that leader will address police protection in Miami Lakes, which has its own dedicated force in a contract with Miami-Dade Police, is to be determined.

     In April, Miami-Dade County Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III met with the Miami Lakes Sheriff’s Ordinance Review Ad-Hoc Committee and said if the contract expired, there would be no interruptions to police protection, though responders may arrive from elsewhere in the county. 

     Town officials and the Miami Lakes Sheriff’s Ordinance Review Ad-Hoc Committee are tackling the issue that has several possible outcomes:

--Create a town police force.

--Contract with a neighboring police department to protect Miami Lakes.

--Renew the town’s current police contract, which expires in September 2024, for three years. 

     “Just to extend our current agreement and give us that peace of mind that we’re extended out,” Town Manager Edward Pidermann said during the May 9 council meeting.

     Mayor Manny Cid raised concerns about extending the contract before the new mayor takes office.    

     Cid’s public service will end in November 2024 because he is term-limited. 

     Cid said he was able to negotiate the current contract and would like his successor to do the same. 

     “My biggest concern with the sheriff is maybe it’s a sheriff that gets elected and they don’t share our values,” Cid said. 

     Cid also worried that a new sheriff may charge the town more money for policing and wanted to workshop the issue and include the ad-hoc committee. 

     Councilman Luis Collazo asked if a six-month contract extension was possible rather than one for three years. 

     “It still has to be negotiated,” Pidermann said. 

     Pidermann sought permission from the council to begin discussions with the police agency and said any contract decisions would be up to the elected officials. 

     The council voted to begin the contract extension talks, with Cid dissenting. The council also unanimously decided to keep the ad-hoc committee until January 2025. The group was due to dissolve after the 2024 election. 

     Extending the contract would also give the ad-hoc committee time to work without the pressure of the contract expiration, Pidermann said.

     As of May 9, there were three candidates for sheriff: Ramirez, the current director; Ruamen de la Rua, a City of Miami Police officer and former Marion County Sheriff’s deputy and Rickey Mitchell, who earned a law degree and a doctorate degree; is a funeral home director in Miami and a retired officer with 25 years of service with Miami-Dade Police, according to his website.