South Miami is moving closer to naming a new police chief.
On Thursday, a selection committee interviewed five finalists for the job in public session. City Manager Steven Alexander said the finalists will meet with him at least one more time after the meeting before he narrows down the pool once more for another round of interviews, prior to his nomination for chief.
According to the city charter, the city manager names department heads subject to approval by a majority of the City Commission.
Alexander said the open meeting of the selection committee was something new.
“I don’t think that has ever been done before. Typically it has been an appointment by the manager. Nobody in the community had any idea who the finalists were. I wanted to bring as much visibility to the process to the candidates as possible.”
South Miami’s acting Police Chief, Maj. Rene Landa, was appointed after Orlando Martinez de Castro was forced out in August. Landa, is one of the five finalists, along with: current Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez; Hialeah police Maj. Raleigh Flowers; Coral Gables police Maj. Scott Masington; and Thomas Cannon, a former assistant police chief in Miami.
The panel tasked with recommending a new chief includes: Golden Beach Police Chief Don De Lucca, Miami-Dade Police Deputy Director Juan Perez, and North Miami Assistant Chief Leonard Burgess.