Orosa sworn in as Miamis new chief of police

mcneir | 12/22/2011, 10:58 a.m.

Manuel Orosa was sworn in last Friday as the new City of Miami police chief, after serving as the departments interim chief since September. Orosa, 54, now heads a police force numbering 1,000 officers. As a 31-year veteran of the Department, he says he is well aware of the challenges that he faces. His first order of business has been to put more officers on the streets more, he says, will follow. We are down 54 police officers so the funding is already in place, he said. I have placed my immediate focus on two beats that have been neglected for some time: 3rd Avenue in Overtown and 7th Avenue in Model City. After we get those in place, the next step will be to establish additional beats in places where a greater police presence is needed. Orosa has hired 16 new police officers; another 31 are either being certified or are being sent to the police academy. After they are all ready for action, he says he will be looking at bringing another 20 officers on board. Added police presence is key to reducing crime Miami is still reeling from its record number police-involved shootings that have occurred over the last 17 months. Orosa points out that what many citizens do not realize it that the City has seen a dangerous rise in Black-on-Black crimes. Crimes committed by Blacks against other Blacks continue to escalate, he said. Many of these are happening in Overtown and we attribute the increase to drug trafficking. I believe that by hiring more officers and having them seen more frequently, we can reduce the chances of drive-by shootings and improve the atmosphere so that decent citizens can feel safer. Most of the dealers that are setting up shop in Overtown, including on the corners, are from places like Opa-locka. We intend on sending them packing. Besides creating more beats and manning them with officers, Orosa has made it a priority to meet with some of the Citys clergy for their input and support. I met with about 25 ministers during my first week on the job, he said. Their leadership and support are essential. The majority of the people who look to us are law-abiding, church-going folks that believe in the power of prayer. I want to hear from them and will listen to their concerns. Keeping the lines of communication is essential if we are going to make an impact on crime. Right now I have plans to visit different communities and talk with their homeowners. You cant address policing by using just one strategy because every community has its own problems and needs. Overtown is different from Coral Way or Allapattah. That means we have to individualize our strategies. But I was once a sergeant and was on the streets of Overtown. We can make that and other communities safer places for everyone. We will. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com