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Ex-Houston PD assistant chief becomes 1st woman to serve as Miami PD deputy chief

Heather R. Morris, the former internal affairs Cmdr. at the Houston Police Department, becomes the first woman to serve as the Miami Police Department’s deputy chief of police.
Heather R. Morris, the former internal affairs Cmdr. at the Houston Police Department, becomes the first woman to serve as the Miami Police Department’s deputy chief of police. (HPD - MPD)

MIAMI – Heather R. Morris became the first woman to serve as deputy chief of police in the history of the Miami Police Department.

Morris, former assistant police chief at the Houston Police Department, is overseeing MPD’s field operations, criminal investigations, and administrative divisions, and she is tasked with developing a cohesive environment.

“Heather is a person that was my internal affairs commander in Houston,” Chief Art Acevedo said on Monday during a promotion’s ceremony at the Miami Police College.

Deputy Chief Heather R. Morris, Assistant Chief Thomas Carroll, Comdr. Brandon Lanier, Cmdr. Kimberly Caruso, Chief of Staff Joelle Lee-Silcox, Sgt. Mario Figueroa and Sgt. Kareena Vega get promoted on Monday at the Miami Police College. (MPD)

Acevedo focused on honoring Morris and six others: The new assistant chief, Thomas Carroll; two new commanders, Cmdr. Brandon Lanier, Cmdr. Kimberly Caruso; the new chief of staff to his executive staff, Joelle Lee-Silcox; and two new patrol sergeants, Sgt. Mario Figueroa and Sgt. Kareena Vega.

Morris replaced Ronald Papier, the former deputy chief who lost his job in June after an internal affairs investigation into an alleged coverup. The probe stemmed from a crash in April involving his wife, former Comdr. Nerly Papier.

Acevedo, who left the Houston Police Department after holding the position for about five years and was sworn in as MPD chief in April, declined to comment about the Papiers on Monday. Jorge Colina, Miami’s former chief of police, retired in February.

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About the Authors:

Madeleine Wright is a general assignment reporter for Local 10 News. She joined the team in March 2017.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.