Miami-Dade County

Buddy cops: Father-son Miami cop team keep it all in the family

In a 28-year law enforcement career, Miami Police Major Ervens Ford has seen the best and worst Miami has had to offer.

On this day he’s looking across a desk at Miami Police headquarters at one of the best: his son, Officer Ervens Ford Jr. Two years ago he followed his father into law enforcement, following a family tradition that began with the major’s father.

“Sometimes you wonder, did you not push him toward that career? With him, in particular, I’m in law enforcement. His mother is in law enforcement. His godmom is in law enforcement. The only people he saw growing up were in law enforcement. He’s been surrounded by it his whole life. Did it influence him? I’m sure it did,” Ford says. “But I think it was a good influence.”

Rebel? Ford Jr., 22, didn’t get away with much while growing up in the West Park neighborhood of Broward County.

“Growing up, I really was not able to go many places. Honestly, I won’t lie; it did groom us very well. My sister is 28 and she’s a dispatcher at BSO. We’re not bad kids. Actually, we’re great kids.”

Dad, who will still take a moment to adjust his son’s tie, is not having all of that.

“Great is not the word,” said Ford, 50. “Decent.”

Guiding, teaching — it’s a lifelong process.

“I would like to think we groomed them. Observing how we conduct ourselves, that’s a big role in grooming children for whatever path they chose in life,” says Ford.

The son has mastered the lesson.

“It actually feels amazing to follow my father’s footsteps, seeing how much passion he has had for the job, how much he loves being a police officer,” Ford Jr. says. “I watched him grow from being a police officer to detective to sergeant to commander to major and I’m really proud of him. It’s an amazing journey.”

For the senior Ford, “It’s bittersweet,” he says. He knows his son will face much of what he has since joining the department nearly 28 years ago.

“It’s nerve wracking. At the same time it means the world to me because it’s a profession I chose. It’s an honor … He still happens to live with me and I see it on a daily basis. I see the growth in him as a person,” Ford says.

Born in Haiti, Ford, the father, moved to South Florida at age 4. Ford was a Boy Scout. A hall monitor in high school. Joined the U.S. Army and worked with the military police. On a whim, he learned Miami was hiring cops. He took the exam. “My options were if I didn’t pass I would pursue a military career, as those were the four best years of my life.”

Solving cases and growing with a job that is ever-changing — thanks to technological advancements and educational opportunities — has been rewarding. Ford says he will miss police work when he retires in 15 months. Ford Jr. will continue the family legacy.

“I lead by example. I make sure he sees how I deal with situations. How I conduct myself,’’ Ford says. “I don’t meddle. He doesn’t come running to me so I appreciate that. Any father would hope to see their child succeed, and I consider myself a success story. If he can duplicate what I have done, then it makes me proud.”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen