North Bay Village police chief Robert Daniels was fired last Friday by the Village Manager Frank Rollason in hopes that the police department could rebuild.
Even though this follows recent complaints by residents about a string of burglaries, Rollason says the dismissal did not stem from a specific event, but rather an overall performance review of the department.
Daniels’ contract requires that he be given six months notice, so he was placed on paid administrative leave until August. His leave was effective Feb. 20.
“I have been observing the police department for the year and a half that I have been here and I just feel the direction needs to change, [such as] the emphasis on community response,” Rollason said.
Lt. Brian Collins will serve as the acting police chief until a replacement is determined.
“Brian has got experience in the community here and he’s been here many, many years,” Rollason said.
At the Feb. 10 monthly commission meeting, residents of the Kennedy House, a condominium at 1865 79th St. Causeway, complained to the commission that the police department was ineffectively handling reported burglaries at the condo and that the investigations were unnecessarily prolonged.
“We have a good police department, however I don’t know where their priorities are I don’t know why were are in the situation that we are,” Kennedy House resident Jorge Brito said at the meeting.
Brito, who is a former Miami-Dade County police detective, and other Kennedy House residents in attendance demanded answers from Daniels.
Daniels had served as police chief since July 2010 when he joined the department. Prior to his hiring, Daniels had 31 years of experience with the Boca Raton and Juno Beach Police departments, and served less than a year as police chief of Buckeye, Arizona.
According to his terms of employment, he will receive three months' severance in addition to his accumulated vacation and sick days. He will also receive extended health benefits for the three months.
Village commissioners were not aware of Daniel’s dismissal until Friday.
“I did not poll the commissioners,” Rollason said. “It was strictly my decision.”
Daniels could not be reached for comment.