For the second time in just over a year, Bal Harbour has lost a police chief to tragedy.
Cancer ended Miguel De La Rosa’s life Saturday at age 49, just four months after he was appointed as the village police chief. That gave De La Rosa the job he had been doing on an interim basis since August 2016, after then-Chief Mark Overton suffered a heart attack in July 2016. Overton never recovered and died in November 2016.
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“Broken-hearted to say good by to my twin, best friend, and hero. No words can ever do justice for how much I love you,” twin brother and Coral Gables Department Fire Chief Marcos De La Rosa tweeted on Sunday. “Miss You already. I got you!”
Capt. Raleigh Flowers will oversee police operations in the village of 8,000, nestled along the Atlantic Ocean about two miles north of Miami Beach.
“We are incredibly and deeply saddened by the loss of such a dedicated public servant who spent his life protecting others,” Mayor Gabriel Groisman said in a statement.
He had a “passion for public safety,” Village Manager Jorge Gonzalez said.
As chief of the high-end village, best known for its condo towers and luxury shopping mall, De La Rosa continued the reconstruction of community trust that Overton started in 2014.
The reforms of Overton and De La Rosa came on the heels of the Miami Herald's License to Launder series, which drew a federal grand jury’s attention. Bal Harbour cops, working undercover stings of drug dealers, lived lavishly — spending on hotels, airfare, dinners and equipment —while laundering drug money without making a single arrest.
Bal Harbour’s announcement of De La Rosa’s death noted: ‘In speaking of ‘transformational’ policing, De La Rosa said communities respond to the genuine character and spirit of police officers. He was fond of quoting legendary British police innovator Robert Peel, who said ‘the police are the public, and the public are the police.’ ”
De La Rosa came to Bal Harbour from Key Biscayne after starting his 29-year law enforcement career by rising to major in the Hialeah Police Department.
The Miami-born De La Rosa graduated from Florida International University and Monsignor Edward Pace High School.
Miguel De La Rosa is survived by his wife since 1991, Jenine; daughters Alexis and Sophia; his brother Marcos; sister Ibis Heras; and his parents.
Funeral services will be Wednesday at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 4497 W. First Ave. in Hialeah. There will be a public viewing from 9:45 a.m. until 11 a.m. A funeral Mass will follow from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Internment will follow the Mass at Vista Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 14200 NW 57th Ave.