- Faith & Family
Miami Times staff report
Miami-Dade County [M-DC] has a new police director — J.D. Patterson — who was sworn-in during a ceremony on last Tuesday with county commissioners, members of the County police department and family members looking on. Patterson, 52, has been the department’s acting director since November and replaces James Loftus who retired in September.
Patterson, a licensed minister, becomes the second Black director of the department in 56 years — the second in the last nine years. Veteran law enforcement specialist Robert Parker was the first Black to lead the department — one of the largest in the U.S.
M-DC Mayor Carlos Gimenez named Patterson to the position last Friday and said, “We felt he had the faith and confidence of the rank and file.” Gimenez pointed to Patterson’s experience and rapport with his colleagues as reasons for selecting him.
Since first joining the department in 1983, Patterson has risen through the ranks, serving as a patrolman, assistant director and now director. He has also overseen several units within the department including: internal affairs; operations; sexual batteries; human resources; and auto thefts.
However, with violence on the rise and Blacks still frustrated over several high-profile police-involved shootings, Patterson will have his hands full. Miami-Dade has also been struggling with budget cuts and a decline in its number of senior officers. Patterson says he hopes to add more officers and beef up technology. He also wants to have an “honest dialogue about violence,” hoping to advance beyond the point of conversation to an actual plan to curtail violence.
Patterson grew up in Miami and graduated from Miami Jackson, Barry University, Miami Dade Community College and the University of Miami. Because he has already entered an early retirement program, Patterson will have to step down in three years. It is anticipated that he will take steps in the near future to ensure a smooth transition when it is time for his successor to take over.