Chief beef

 

The doors-locked, shades-drawn selection of the Opa-locka police chief doesn’t bode well for the future of a deeply troubled department in a crime-plagued city. This is not a premature assessment of Jeffrey Key’s abilities. He was a commander in North Miami with a decent record.

But there was no public vetting process, not even a hint of transparency. Mayor Myra Taylor and Manager Kelvin Baker shut the public out of the decision, and residents should demand to know why.

It was all very hush-hush until the North Miami mayor two weeks ago bade a public farewell to Mr. Key as he embarked upon his new job. Even then Opa-locka officials denied what ultimately came to pass. They weren’t lying to Opa-lockans, were they?

Residents and business owners have every right to grill the mayor, the manager and, yes, the new chief as to why the selection went down as it did. Is Mr. Key really the best pick or did his political connections do the trick? To whom will he be beholden — those who hired him on the sly or crime-weary constituents who want to reclaim their city from the bad guys? Will Mr. Key be a reformer, rooting out well-documented corruption in his department? Is that even his mission? Officials haven’t even come clean about his salary.

This is no way to run a city that seeks to be known for something other than Arabian minarets and crime.

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