Doral has picked former Miami Beach police chief Don De Lucca to lead its police department.
De Lucca, 54, was the Beach’s police chief from 2001 to 2007, before retiring from the force to work in private security. In 2011, he became police chief in Golden Beach, a town of about 1,000 people just south of the Broward County line.
According to a memo sent to the Doral City Council last week, City Manager Edward Rojas used the short list from Miami Beach’s recent national search for a chief to get names and conduct interviews.
“Although it was a difficult decision, as we had very strong candidates to consider, I believe that the person that I have selected best matches the profile and needs of this community,” he wrote. “His experience and résumé are very deep.”
De Lucca rose through the ranks in Miami Beach, where he started in 1981. As chief, he oversaw a force of about 400 sworn officers for six years.
In Doral, he will oversee a force with about 100 sworn officers and a budget of about $16 million. He starts Aug. 11, and his annual salary will be $137,500.
In a prepared statement on Thursday, De Lucca thanked the town of Golden Beach for the last three years, where he’s grown fond of the residents and the 21 officers who work there.
“That being said, I am honored and humbled to be named the Chief of Police for the City of Doral and I look forward to getting to know their officers and residents as I embark on the next chapter of my career,” he wrote.
Mayor Luigi Boria said Thursday he thought Rojas made the right call in choosing someone with years of experience as a chief.
“I think Mr. De Lucca has the credentials,” Boria said, adding that he expected the new chief to continue the work the department has done in recent years. “I want consistency of the progress we already established, like zero tolerance on drugs.”
With a high-profile gig in Miami Beach, he led the department to achieve international and state accreditation, oversaw the formation of the Special Events Voluntary Response Team to staff major events and developed the city’s comprehensive terrorism response plan that is still in place. He also serves as vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, where he is set to become president in four years.
De Lucca is also no stranger to making headlines.
In 2011, his association with convicted Ponzi schemer and notorious college football booster Nevin Shapiro came under scrutiny during a major University of Miami football scandal. News reports from the time cited emails released by Miami Beach police showing that while De Lucca was chief in 2006, his assistant was booking hotel rooms for Shapiro and his associates. Miami Beach police union vice president Gustavo Sanchez criticized De Lucca in the media for his friendship with Shapiro, whom he said was often seen coming in and out of De Lucca’s offices.
De Lucca was never charged with any wrongdoing.
Doral’s search lasted about two weeks after previous chief Richard Blom resigned when he said he was told the department was heading in a new direction. Rojas plans to transform the police chief position into a director of public safety that would oversee police, public works and code compliance.
De Lucca’s salary marks an increase from the $110,00 Blom was earning, which Boria said on Thursday is due to the position’s increased responsibilities. The City Council will consider the departmental reorganization during the current budget season.