Two new faces you’ll see on TV and in our police stories: Juan Villalba, 35, and Mario Rachid, 37. They join Carlos Maura, 52, on the job five months, as the newest spokesmen for the county’s largest police department.
Villalba comes to Miami-Dade's public information bureau after three years in the Hammocks district, most recently as a field-training officer. Before that, he held the rank of lieutenant with Virginia Gardens police.
“We’re the department’s face. I felt like I could make a good impact,” Villalba says of his move. A Miami native, Villalba is married with no kids – and he says his wife, an attorney, is ready for the late-night calls to crime scenes.
Rachid comes to PIO after nine years in the criminal intelligence unit of the Homeland Security. Raised in Hialeah, he is married with children and now in his more visible role, he wants to “represent the department in a professional manner.”
They’ll lean on Maura (pictured here at a murder-suicide scene near the Keys) who took a roundabout route to his new role. He spent nearly 25 years with the county's parks and recreation department, starting off mowing lawns. In 2000, he fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a cop.
He’s worked patrol in Miami Lakes, domestic crimes and now fielding calls from Miami-Dade’s media beast.
“The most challenging part in dealing with the media and getting the story out in the correct way, the way things really occurred,” he said.