Manuel Morales named Miami police chief full-time

Manuel Morales has been with the Miami Police Department since 1994 and was named interim chief after Art Acevedo was removed in October.

MIAMI – Manuel Morales, the Miami police veteran who has served as interim chief since Art Acevedo’s ouster last year, has been appointed to the permanent job.

“After further evaluating Chief Morales’ performance during the first 100 days, I am extremely confident that he is eminently qualified, respected and admired by many and will continue to do a great job as Chief for the Police Department,” City Manager Art Noriega said in making the announcement Monday afternoon. “Furthermore, this decision will ensure stability at the leadership level of the city’s police department.”

Morales joined the Miami Police Department in 1994 and previously served as commander, major and assistant chief in charge of the administrative and field operations divisions.

He was sworn in as interim chief in October after the city commission accepted Noriega’s recommendation to remove Acevedo, the chief hired from Houston with great fanfare.

Morales was among those who testified against Acevedo in the commission meeting that sealed Acevedo’s fate.

“It’s a litany of things, but it perhaps boils down to the systematical or systematic demoralization of the police department that has been a result of his leadership style,” Morales said during that Oct. 14 meeting.

On Monday, Morales released a statement that read:

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be selected as Chief of the Miami Police Department. I would like to thank our City Manager, Art Noriega, for having the confidence in my ability to guide our department into the next chapter, I am grateful to Mayor Suarez and all the City Commissioners for their support not only of me, but more importantly their support for all the men and women of the Miami Police that work hard every day to make Miami safer for all.

“I could not have achieved this dream without the unwavering support of my wife Yvette, my mother Marta, and my sons Manny, Matt, Eddie, and AJ. Their encouragement during the past 28 years at the Miami PD has been priceless and are testament of the individual I am today. To all the heroes of the Miami PD, I want to thank you for your steadfast commitment to our community policing principles, your daily sacrifices do not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. To our community, I pledge to hold the sanctity of human life at the center of all we do at the Miami Police Department.”

According to a city news release, Morales holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from St. Thomas University and a Master’s degree with distinction in security studies from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.