Miami Gardens needs an Officer Friendly

Miami Times Editorial Department | 12/19/2013, 9 a.m.

We have referred to the fictional character known as Officer Friendly in previous editorials but considering the challenges now facing the Miami Gardens Police Department, we thought it apropos. Let’s face it — police in Miami Gardens face a real public relations problem. Instead of being viewed as friends of the community, men and women that have taken an oath of service in order to keep citizens safe, they are viewed by many as rude, rogue and rambunctious.

The belief is that cops in Miami Gardens will “stop and frisk” without cause or provocation and that more often than not, they will get a bit rough, particularly if you happen to be young and Black, with gold-capped teeth and pants worn below your waist.

Now that Chief Matthew Boyd has opted to use the remainder of his vacation days in order to sail off into the proverbial sunset, (notice we did not say ‘resign’ as that is not technically the option that he exercised), his second-in-command, Paul Miller, has taken over as the City’s interim chief.

It remains to be seen whether Miller, a competent and certainly likable man, will be chosen to take the top post. We hear that others from Ft. Lauderdale to the City of Miami are being considered and are on the short list. But whoever is chosen, they will need to bring a new attitude — one that instills trust and confidence in citizens. They’ll need to make sure officers are familiar with the City, its history, its mores and most important the idiosyncrasies of its citizens.

Yes, Miami Gardens needs an Officer Friendly at the helm.