Miami police chief talks about ups and downs in first year

MIAMI – It has been one year since Manny Morales became chief of the Miami Police Department. He admits his title is challenging and his first year was at times tough.

“I think the main thing is dealing with some of the internal issues,” Morales said.

Recent allegations of corruption, racism and internal turmoil bubbled over. A veteran sergeant signed off from the department with harsh words for the chief and another superior.

“You have destroyed this police department and the morale,” 33-year veteran Sgt. Madelin Garcia said.

In January, Morales testified in a whistleblower hearing involving two former internal affairs employees who accused the department of corruption and racism. The hearing will pick back up in March.

Local 10 asked Morales if he believed the morale within the department improved since he became chief.

“The vocal minority will tell you no, but the majority of the officers tell me every day they’re healthier,” Morales said.

Morales said he felt some of what he calls retaliation is coming from employees who may have become disgruntled standing by decisions he made as chief.

“Friction is part of human nature. I was surprised of some of the folks I’ve known for years when they were found to be in violation of certain policies. They were held accountable, their feet held to the fire, they lashed out,” he said.

Despite internal issues, there are successes worth noting for the 2022 year.

The 2022 homicide clearance rate for the Miami Police Department sits above the national average at 70%. Violent crime is down 2% in the city.

The chief credited investigators with being proactive in making a high number of convicted felon with firearm arrests, which can ultimately prevent other crimes from taking place.

About the Author:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.