City of Opa-locka Assistant police chief leaving force

Miami Times staff report | 5/15/2014, 9 a.m.

Opa-locka Assistant Police Chief Louis Vega is stepping down from the police force after a year on the job.

Vega, 70, submitted his resignation letter and will officially leave the department May 16. Assistant City Manager David Chiverton described the departure as a “retirement.” Vega said he did not feel challenged by the job and will search for other positions before he leaves the force.

Vega denied reports of tensions and disagreements between him a and Chief Jeffrey Key, who was appointed last March.

Vega, who has also worked for the Miami and New York police departments, said that he adjusted to the small size of the force. The city of about 16,000 residents is policed by about 60 officers.

The Opa-locka police department has suffered a history of high turnover in leadership and liability claims due to poor practices, most notably a collision last April after an Opa-locka police officer pursued a driver heading the wrong way on Interstate 95.

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime data, the department also had 11 murders in 2013,which led to only one arrest. Nationally, 62 percent of murders were solved by police in 2012, the most recent year for which complete data were available.

Despite this, Vega looks back on his time there positively.

Vega served as an assistant police chief in Miami and most recently unsuccessfully applied to be chief of the Miami Beach Police Department in 2011.

The city has not appointed a replacement for Vega.