When Miami-Dade’s mayor visits Paris during a three-week European trip, a county police officer will join him for protection.
A spokesman for Mayor Carlos Gimenez pointed to a U.S. State Department’s May 1 alert about travel to Europe this summer that cites an ongoing risk of terrorist attacks in Europe. While county commissioners often tap county police’s sergeant-at-arms staff to drive and escort them to official events, Gimenez typically drives himself or travels with aides.
“This is not a normal practice,” said Michael Hernández, Gimenez’s communications director. “But given the situation in Europe, we are sending [an officer] to Paris.”
Miami-Dade expects to spend about $3,500 dispatching an officer to France from Saturday through Wednesday, when Gimenez and County Commissioner Jean Monestime will be attending the Paris Air Show. The industry event is held every other summer, and is a popular stop for county officials and business executives. Gimenez has been trying to launch a smaller-scale version of the air expo in the Miami area, with a focus on Latin American aviation deals.
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Paris is one stop on Gimenez’s three-week European tour with his wife, Lourdes, whose travel is not covered by the county, Hernández said. The mayor also is paying for lodging during nights not connected to the official itinerary. Miami-Dade is covering his two days in Ireland that started Monday with the signing of a “sister city” agreement with Cork County and a two-day visit to Italy that includes meetings with MSC Cruises, which has ships at the county’s PortMiami.
Hernández said Gimenez’s official travel will cost about $5,000, paid for by Miami-Dade’s International Trade Consortium, an arm of county government that organizes trips abroad and promotes international commerce. Also traveling with Gimenez: chief of staff Alex Ferro, and Ferro’s wife, Lani Ferro, director of governmental relations at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital who represents the nonprofit in county business.
This item was updated to correct Lani Ferro’s title.