South Miami has a new police chief: Rene Landa.
Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez had been considered a finalist for the job. Instead, Landa was sworn in Friday as top cop.
Landa had previously served as a major in the department and took over as acting chief after the ouster of Orlando Martinez de Castro. In August, a majority of city commissioners decided at a special meeting that de Castro’s employment contract was no longer valid.
Other candidates for the position included: Hialeah police major Raleigh Flowers; Coral Gables police major Scott Masington; and Thomas Cannon, a former assistant police chief in Miami.
Ultimately, it was up to City Manager Steven Alexander to recommend who the city’s next chief would be.
Said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard: “His choice was really to keep Landa for stability or bring in one of the other guys to make some changes. And I think his decision was that stability was better for the department ultimately at this point.”
A new chief isn’t the only recent change at South Miami PD. The department recently was awarded state accreditation for the first time. A department has to meet more than 260 standards to be accredited.
Martinez, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, has been top cop in Miami Beach since March 2012. Before that, he served as the department’s second-in-command for more than a decade.
The Beach recently named 40-year law enforcement veteran John Buhrmaster as the department’s deputy chief. The position was left open after the former number two cop, Mark Overton, left to become chief in nearby Bal Harbour. Overton also previously served as chief in Hialeah.
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