Miami-Dade Police Maj. Javier Ruiz leads the agency’s Miami Lakes district and oversees 50 employees. Ruiz, 48, lives in the City of Doral. He joined the Miami-Dade Police Department 25 years ago and was first assigned to the northwest district, which included Miami Lakes.
He was based in town shortly after its incorporation in 2000, but after a few years moved on to Internal Affairs. Ruiz returned to Miami Lakes in 2017.
This year Ruiz earned a master’s degree in disaster management from Florida International University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Q: Where are you from and what is your background?
A: I grew up just north of here in Carol City. I was born in Miami, lived in Miami my entire life. My parents are both from Cuba. They came over in 1970.
Q: What do you most like about Miami Lakes?
A: The best thing that I have is that we have complete and total community involvement. When people ask me how many officers I’ve got -- I have 46 -- but I really have 30,000 members of my department, because we have over 30,000 people living in Miami Lakes. It’s the partnerships that we have with the community and the community support ... that really help.
Q: What do you dislike about the town?
A: The biggest headache that we may have is that we have a lot of traffic that goes in and through Miami Lakes. That’s why we try to develop initiatives, to have traffic details, have officers at lights, work with our traffic management in the county in order to synchronize the timing of the lights so that there’s no significant backup and to provide for sufficient flow.
Q: As leader of the town’s police force, what are the challenges and what do you hope to accomplish?
A: I always talk about our mission statement: To provide an atmosphere, an environment that is free of crime and the fear of crime. And the second objective is always to provide for the best flow of traffic that goes through our community. Those are the two main challenges that we have here in the police department. So I wanted to ensure that our officers are consistently and constantly highly visible to those that may travel into the town in order to commit crime, and to show them that this is a safe place and well-protected. In regard to traffic, another initiative was to try and alleviate as much of the pressure in certain areas as possible.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment, whether in your personal life or career?
A: I’m proud of my education. I recently obtained my Master of Arts in disaster management from FIU. I’m very proud of my family, of my wonderful kids and my wife. I consider it a huge accomplishment that I’ve come back home to Miami Lakes where I started my career, where I used to ride bike through when I was a kid, where I used to visit the movie theater on my first dates, where I used to go to the restaurants when I was young, where I started my career as a police officer. And now I’m back here trying to make the community that I care about a safe place.
Q: Do you have a fantasy career?
A: That question is very hard because I feel like I have my fantasy career. But if I were to choose another career, even though I have no writing ability -- well, I have some writing ability -- I guess I would have loved to be an author. I love to read books. I read a lot of fiction here and there, read a lot of Stephen King, lots of science fiction as well. That would have been my dream career.
Q: What are you reading, what podcasts are you listening to?
A: I’ve gotten a lot into riding a bike recently, so what I do is I listen to an audiobook while I’m riding a bike. The latest I’ve read is “Billy Summers” by Stephen King, “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. I’m reading “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by [Yuval Noah] Harari, “Raven Rock” by [Garrett M.] Graff and “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir.
Q: What are you binge-watching on TV?
A: Nothing really.
Q: Where did you last travel to on a vacation?
A: This year we went to Tennessee and rented a cabin in the mountains. We just loved it. It was amazing. We went in March. It was nice and cool, beautiful scenery. It was just a nice, nice vacation to get away from it all.