The Miami-Dade Police Department should end its long-standing practice of investigating its own police-involved shootings and the deaths of people in custody and turn those over to the state, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez has told the department’s chief.
In a memo to Police Director J.D. Patterson late this week, Gimenez said handing the investigations over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would “strengthen” community trust in the department. The four-page memo also said the mayor had preliminary conversations with the FDLE, and directed Patterson to discuss the transfer with the state police agency.
“It is my strong opinion that a thorough and expeditious investigation by an independent agency which leads to a conclusion statement will strengthen the community’s trust of such a process, and faith that the investigation of any event that may be unjustified would reach an appropriate conclusion,” wrote Gimenez.
Even if an investigation conducted by the police department is above board, the mayor told the Herald on Friday that “people shouldn’t be investigating themselves,” and that letting the FDLE handle the investigations “will be viewed as more objective. The goal is to be more objective, to have the confidence of the people.”
Patterson said Friday that he wasn’t yet on board with the plan, “but if we can come out of it with a better product, I’m for it.”