Juan Perez sworn in as Miami-Dade police director

Perez employed by Miami-Dade Police Department for more than 25 years

DORAL, Fla. – Juan Perez was sworn in Thursday as director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Perez, who has been with the police department for more than 25 years, was appointed director by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez in late January.

"Know that I will work hard to make this department the best department, and I will work as hard as I can to make this county safe," Perez said during Thursday's ceremony.

Perez, a graduate of Saint Thomas University, told Local 10 News earlier this month that he plans to make a dent in some of the serious issues he sees affecting the county, such as violent crime and specifically gun violence affecting young people.

Perez said he is working to create strategies to work with teens in high-risk communities and build more trust and communication with people in those neighborhoods to help solve crimes.

He also spoke about officer-involved shootings and said he is focusing on use of force training for officers. He said all police-involved shootings are investigated by an outside department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Another big focus for Perez is new technologies and tools to help with everything from solving crimes to engaging with the community.

Perez, who previously served as deputy director, replaced Director J.D. Patterson, who worked for the police department for more than 30 years before retiring.

The Miami-Dade Police Department is the largest law enforcement agency in the southeastern U.S., serving more than 2.6 million residents.