Palmetto Bay’s new police commander jumped right into business following the retirement of previous commander Gregory Truitt in September.
On his plate?
“Our traffic enforcement initiative, where we target areas in Palmetto Bay that have a high rate of complaints — places with countless traffic violations,” Police Commander Gadyaces Serralta said. “It’s been really busy.”
Palmetto Bay, which contracts its police services from Miami-Dade County police, has been battling traffic for a long time. As cities have boomed and developed nearby, the village’s main arteries and major roadways including U.S. 1 are often clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic.
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As a result, motorists speed through residential streets to avoid traffic, something the police have been been trying to cut down on.
Serralta says the Village is combating the issue with a comprehensive traffic plan. Just last week, city staff placed speed humps to reduce the speeds of rapid drivers on select streets. Village officials are also looking to add more signage and roundabouts to deter cut-through traffic.
“In the meantime, I have to slow down that traffic pattern,” Serralta said. “That’s where our traffic enforcement initiative comes in, along with many, many, many citations.”
Serralta, 46, has been in law enforcement for about 26 years. Born and raised in Miami, his career began at the Miami-Dade County police department, where he worked his way up the ranks. Some areas he worked in include robbery intervention detail, narcotics, major investigations and the gangs task force.
About a year ago, he was transferred to the Palmetto Bay unit as a lieutenant.
“My favorite part of the job is not just crime fighting, but it’s dealing with the community; knowing that I provide a true service from the heart,” Serralta said.
He noted that last week he and some of his officers “chased down two burglary subjects on foot. It turned out to be three young men that were victimizing peoples houses.”
During his off time, the police commander enjoys doing charity work. Recently he participated and volunteered at a few 5K walk-a-thons and a massive fundraiser that goes toward feeding Miami’s hungry children.
“I encourage officers to give up their time as well; we are public servants,” he said.
Serralta also enjoys hiking. His favorite is the Appalachian Trail. He recently hiked a 20-mile segment of the 2,190-mile trail.
“It’s beyond gorgeous,” he said.
Many have asked Serralta about his “unique” first name, he said.
“They always ask me where it’s from, but it’s actually an acronym. I’m one of nine children, each of which of has an acronym for a name. It was given by our parents when they immigrated from Cuba and started new here.”
“Gloria a Dios y a Cristo el Salvador (translation: Glory to God and to Christ the Savior),” he said.
“People still can’t believe it. It’s a pretty cool fun fact.”