Edward Hudak was officially named the sole, permanent chief of the Coral Gables police department Friday afternoon.
The move, which is effective Monday, was made on his one-year anniversary of being appointed interim chief and almost two weeks after City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark had announced a restructuring of the department, which did not ultimately come to pass.
“I make this appointment not only because of the highly responsive manner in which you have served the public this past year, as evidenced by the strong outpouring of support on behalf of this appointment, but also because of your personal commitment you have provided to me that you will lead at all times with honor, fairness and integrity,” said Swanson-Rivenbark.
Hudak is a 26-year veteran of the department. He has undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of Miami. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Law Enforcement Executive Academy, according to city spokeswoman Maria Higgins-Fallon.
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He was appointed interim chief on Sept. 11, 2014 after the abrupt resignation of then-chief Dennis Weiner amid a residential crime wave.
“I appreciate the privilege to continue to serve the citizens of the Coral Gables community,” Hudak said. “I look forward to all the challenges that we face as a community and police in general. I am also ready to embrace a partnership with law enforcement and the community to better serve and protect us all.”
Swanson-Rivenbark had originally planned to restructure the department’s executive hierarchy by naming two chiefs instead of one. Pressure built after word got out. A slew of high-ranking officers spoke up, some commissioners complained, and residents inundated City Hall with phone calls and emails.
City Attorney Craig Leen reviewed the Coral Gables code and determined that her plan might be in violation. “The code calls for one chief of police,” Leen told the Miami Herald.
The city manager then backpedaled on her vision of appointing interim Chief Ed Hudak as chief of operations and longtime Major Raul Pedroso as chief of criminal investigations.
“The city manager plans to meet with interim Chief Hudak this week to discuss several issues of concern she would need addressed by him,” Leen said in a statement on Sept. 1. “If these issues are resolved in a manner satisfactory to the city manager, she would appoint Mr. Hudak as police chief under her authority in Section 21 of the City Charter. At that point, the city manager and police chief would address staff alignment to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the department.”
Swanson-Rivenbark did not disclose any details of her concerns.