MIAMI — Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez wants the county's police department to turn over investigations of its police-involved shootings to the state. Gimenez wrote last week in a memo to Miami-Dade County Police Director J.D. Patterson that he also wants the state to investigate deaths of people in police custody.
Patterson is not convinced. He told the Miami Herald on Friday the current system works, but he added that turning over such investigations would free up department resources. The county reported 17 police-involved shootings last year and two in-custody deaths. A third of the investigations were sent to the state attorney. The county also probes officer-involved shootings of nearby, smaller law enforcement agencies.
"People shouldn't be investigating themselves," the mayor told The newspaper Friday. He wants the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to handle the investigations. The agency oversees investigations into the use of deadly force by more than 20 law enforcement agencies, including the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union applauded the proposal.
Gimenez's efforts come after criticism last summer over his decision to reduce the police department's public-corruption unit.