My Story and Vision
My parents, as immigrants, moved to Miami for a promise of a better life for our family. Just like the millions of families seeking a better life in the United States, they were allowed to enter with only $60. My mother was born in Havana, Cuba. My father was born in Palestine. I was born in Jerusalem and was lucky enough to learn Arabic and English. I am a proud product of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and I have deep ties to our community.
I have fond memories of horseback riding on Bird Road and 137th Avenue and picking tomatoes and strawberries in the fields on 127th Avenue and on what is now Sunset Drive. Miami-Dade County was, at the time, quite different.
My mother was the first college graduate in her family. She became a teacher directly out of college but ended up working for, and retiring from, the United Way. My father worked and eventually retired from Miami-Dade County as an electrical engineer in the Traffic and Signal Department. My family’s ties and devotion to Miami-Dade County are deep-rooted.
After high school, I attended and graduated from the University of Miami with both a Bachelor and a Masters Degrees in Communications and Criminal Justice.
Eventually, I became a Federal Agent. As an Agent, I had the opportunity to work on many task forces throughout the country, including one assigned to the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.
Although I always believed that our justice system needed reform, the need and extent of that reform began to crystalize in recent years. Seeing the law enforcement process from both sides, enhanced my understanding of the changes necessary to bring local law enforcement into the 21st century.
Law Enforcement is not only an honorable profession but it’s also tough mentally and physically on the men and women who sacrifice their life to keep us safe. And it comes at a cost to their health (mentally and physically), family and sometimes careers.
In addition, the community that law enforcement is serving and protecting deserves the best qualified, well-trained deputies who will treat everyone they serve and protect with dignity, respect, and fairness without prejudgment. But most important without violating any resident’s civil rights.
Keeping these essential concepts in mind, I used the 21st century Policing Best Practices as my guide to formulate a realistic and practical approach to modern-day Policing. I strongly believe this approach combines the community’s interest with the essential mission of law enforcement fighting crime. I believe this formula will keep you and your family safe and secure and yet it also includes the community residents in this mission. By having the community participating in the solution of fighting crime, we will not only build trust but will develop cooperation and coordination as we address solutions as partners in the future.
I have established a platform that consists of six (6) pillars that reflect the structure necessary for that foundation.
Accountability is also an essential part of developing and building trust with community residents. That is why I’m revising the structure of internal investigations (IA) and implementing an independent and standalone pillar for accountability.
Currently, only 20% of all complaints are investigated, no formal complaint number is provided to the complainant, and you may or may not hear back from anyone regarding your complaint for months. The officers assigned to IA are rotated in and out of that unit working with or possibly for the same officers that they might have investigated. These are just a few issues I have with the IA process. Having firsthand knowledge of the process provides me with a unique ability to make appropriate and necessary changes, which will enhance community trust with the system. I strongly believe that everyone deserves to be heard and that an independent, fair, and transparent process is sometimes more important than the outcome.
Establishing a fair accountability process, will provide the residents confidence in the system. And what’s good for the community is good for law enforcement and visa-versa.
Change is not easy or simple. It will take all of us to join forces in order not just to achieve a safer community but because we are stronger together. So please take some time to review my platform with an open mind. I’m sure you will see how we can transition our Miami-Dade County Police Department into the 21st Century Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Department.
I humbly ask for God’s grace and your support and vote as we transition from the Miami-Dade County Police Department into the Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Department. We will not just be setting the golden standard for the 21st century Policing but we will also be setting standard as the leaders for the nation.