Wayne Jones becomes Miami Beach’s first black police chief

A new top cop is about to be chosen in Miami Beach, and it could be a historic event. The city manager has appointed Wayne Jones to become the city’s first black mayor, but that’s not all.

Jones currently holds the position of Deputy Chief. He spent his entire 27-year career in Miami Beach, moving up through the ranks.

After an extensive interview, Jones was selected as the next police chief by Miami Beach city manager Alina Hudak, who sent a letter announcing the nomination earlier this week. Now it will be decided by the commission, but the mayor and the police union have already supported it.

“He’s a great guy,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said. “He has spent his entire adult life in almost every position that can be found in our police department.”

The appointment comes at a time when police departments are being criticized for interacting with people of color.

“We’ve come a long way, so this is a very historic moment for Miami Beach. The union is very supportive,” said union president Bobby Hernandez.

Many in Miami Beach think Jones is right for the job.

“He has a great relationship with City Hall, with the Black Affairs Committee, with the NAACP,” Hernandez said. “Every organization you can think of has questioned police practices for years.”

But supporters said its variety is just an added bonus.

“More importantly, he showed himself with great integrity and competence, which is what you look for in your boss,” Gelber said.

While Miami Beach makes headlines for spring break violence, the city manager, the mayor and the union believe Jones will restore order.

“I think next year we will see a big difference during spring break,” Hernandez said. “The chief of police sets the tone for the organization. When you have an apparently calm leader like Chief Jones, it’s good in a hot scene. Because when they are calm, everyone else is calm.”

Now it is up to the city commission to make the final decision.

“I think it would be very difficult to vote down someone who really justified himself in such an extraordinary way,” Gelber said.

Voting will take place next Wednesday. Jones must receive a majority of the votes to become chief. If that happens, Jones will officially take over on September 1st.

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