You won’t find any police reports or crime stories in this special holiday edition of the River Cities Gazette, but the new police chief does deserve a welcome.
The Gazette traditionally stays away from bad news in the issue just prior to Christmas and this one is no different. It is filled with Santa letters from kids and greetings from supporters of this newspaper. But the hiring of Pete Baan’s replacement is important and should not be ignored.
His name is Armando Guzman and he takes over the Miami Springs Police Department the first Monday in January. Chief Guzman has big shoes to fill, taking over for Baan and inheriting a department with moral problems, coming off a five-year fight with the city over a new contract.
Baan spent over 40 years with the MSPD and had the respect of everyone. Guzman will have to earn such respect but said all the right things, when I met him for the first time, in City Manager Ron Gorland’s office last week.
“I am excited and humbled to get this job. There were 97 applicants — many fine candidates — and I was honored to just make the Top 10,” said Guzman. “It is a tremendous honor to be selected as Chief of Police in Miami Springs.”
He told me about his days of growing up near the Orange Bowl, spending his entire life in Miami-Dade County, and how important his family (wife Ileana, four children and three grandchildren) is and what attracted him to Miami Springs.
“Miami Springs reminds me of Palm Bay, quiet neighborhoods where neighbors know each other and care about each other. Miami Springs has not had controversy; the stability of the city was very important to me,” he continued.
Guzman will leave his job as Chief of Public Safety for Miami Dade College Kendall to come to Miami Springs. He spent more than 30 years with the Miami Police Department, attaining the rank of Major. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from FIU.
The new Miami Springs Chief of Police will be spending the holidays vacationing in Florida with family; he understands the challenges that face him and is ready for the challenge.
Welcome to Miami Springs and Happy Holidays to Chief Guzman and his family. The same holiday wish goes out to all the loyal readers, advertisers, and supporters of YOUR local newspaper, the River Cities Gazette.