The City of Miami says there are just five candidates left for the job of chief of police, reports the Miami Herald, and there's a few familiar names on the list. Adam Burden, Michael J. Gugliotti, Rafael Hernandez Jr., Manuel Orosa and Amos Rojas Jr. are all in the running for the politically precarious gig, with visions of free Lexus SUVs and retirement jaunts to Bahrain no doubt dancing in their heads. City Manager Johnny Martinez told the Herald he is interviewing finalists this week and may make a hire by Friday, two months after former chief Miguel Exposito lost his war with city officials -- and officially got the boot.
Who might our next top cop be? Here's a quick glance at the finalists from the pool 71 applicants (nearly 50 of whom had already applied before Exposito was actually fired):
Manuel Orosa, 54: Currently interim police chief, then-Sergeant Orosa first hit the papers in 1988 when temporarily relieved of his duties after officers under his supervision carried out and attempted to cover the beating death of drug dealer Leonardo Mercado (and were later convicted, after two trials and a riot). Orosa cooperated with investigators after being granted use immunity in the case and was cleared of wrongdoing. Reviews of his two-month tenure as interim police chief have been positive, and Orosa was a finalist two years ago when the job was won by Exposito.
Michael J. Gugliotti: The police chief of Waterbury, Connecticut, Gugliotti has served in the Patrol Division, Gang Task Force, Detective Division, Vice and Intelligence Division and as Aide to the Police Chief. His interview was conducted by Skype, the Herald reports. Next!
Adam Burden, 46: One of former police chief John Timoney's assistant chiefs, Burden was demoted along with a handful of others by Timoney's incoming replacement, Miguel Exposito, and chose to retire rather than be sent down. While assistant chief, Burden managed Miami PD's business, administrative and technical offices, according to the Herald, and was also named in a lawsuit stemming from strong-arm police tactics used during the infamous 2003 free trade demonstrations in Miami (the suit was later settled with $160,000 from the city). He was previously sued for sexual harassment in 2002 by former subordinate Felicia Brown, according to Seattle Weekly, and the case was settled. Burden is the only remaining minority candidate, and would become Miami's fourth African-American chief of police if selected.
Rafael Hernandez, Jr., 62: President of the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police until he was fired as North Miami Beach chief for "administrative reasons" in July, the Herald reports Hernandez previously served as chief in South Miami, Sweetwater, and Chelsea, Massachusetts, and for a time oversaw the operations bureau of the Tallahassee Police Department. The former Miami-Dade and Broward Sheriff's officer was chief in North Miami Beach since 2008, and terminated in a surprise move by the city manager as the department faced layoffs. (Later, two department employees were fired for conspiring to cast a Santeria spell on the city manager because of the "negative environment".) According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, a sexual harassment complaint was made against Hernandez in 1997, but dismissed and no disciplinary action was taken.
Amos Rojas, Jr., 57: A candidate some have tapped as the dark horse to Orosa's favorite, Rojas led the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Miami field office for eight years before retiring just months ago. Interestingly, the Herald reports the former officer for Miami-Dade, South Miami Police, and Huntsville (Alabama) police also oversaw investigations into public corruption while with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Rojas could be a very interesting choice for a mayor whose famous anti-corruption squad was smacked down for possibly compromising future corruption cases.