Daniel J. Oates Voted in On Wednesday.
The Miami Beach Commission approved a new leader for their police department on Wednesday.
Daniel J. Oates, the now former Chief in Aurora, Colorado, was instated by the commission to lead the Miami Beach Police Department.
City Manager Jimmy Morales concluded Oates was “the best person to meet the City of Miami Beach’s needs” after conducting a national search.
Oates has a long resume in law enforcement, including two decades with the NYPD, a top post in Michigan, and most recently in Aurora, Colorado. Aurora made unfortunate headlines recently with a mass shooting at a movie theater.
“I am absolutely humbled to have this opportunity in this great city,” said Oates after a unanimous vote of approval.
“I don’t have any easy or quick answers,” said the Chief, then swiftly added that it was probably a sense of humility and pragmatic thinking that ingratiated him to Morales.
He did promise two things: hard work, and mistakes. The latter being something he would learn from.
His resume is filled with accomplishments, but some mistakes have happened during his watch. In 2013 his department prematurely destroyed evidence in 48 sexual assault cases.
According to the Denver Post, Oates called it a “grievous mistake” at a press conference. In one instance prosecutors had to abandon an imminent arrest because of the lost evidence, reported the newspaper.
Oates told the commission that he would reach out to them for guidance.
Outgoing Chief Ray Martinez has stated that he felt politically pressured to abandon his post.
“I respect the movement in this city, and I have decided to step aside to provide the Mayor with the opportunity to select new leadership for this department,” said Martinez.
His Deputy Chief, Mark Overton, also jumped ship after the new commission was voted in. Landing the top position in neighboring Bal Harbor. Recently Long time City Attorney Jose Smith also resigned his position as to work for another municipality.
Both Martinez and Overton were brought in by previous administrations to help clean up the troubled department’s image. The department was reeling from a sloppy and deadly Memorial Day Weekend shooting, officers drinking and operating motor vehicles while on duty, and one of their own being arrested on racketeering charges to name a few incidents.
Oates acknowledged at a press conference that the department could benefit from some “image work,” but also said it was a “sound organization.”
City surveys show that as of 2012, residents had a 66% approval rating for the MBPD. In a memo to the commission supporting the Oates hire, Morales said that approval rating had fallen from 2009 when it was at 85 percent. Those figures include years when Martinez was not at the top spot.
The commission is behind their new hire. All took a moment to praise Oates before the vote.
“Your qualification are impeccable,” said Commissioner Ed Tobin.