By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On June 26th, the City Commission unanimously appointed Richard M. Clements as the 20th police chief of the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD). The swearing-in ceremony was today, Monday, July 1st, at 10AM in the City Commission Chambers located on the third floor of 1700 Convention Center Drive.
Chief Clements has been with the department for the entirety of his law enforcement career that began in 1990, last serving in the capacity of Deputy Chief for the past three years.
“I’ve witnessed Clements’ personal commitment to professionalism in the department and his eagerness to continue to advance the agency as Deputy Chief since I came to Miami Beach in 2013,” noted City Manager Jimmy L. Morales.
“There is no candidate better suited to lead, and I have full confidence he’ll take the department to new heights and ensure its integrity.”
The city reports that Clements has received numerous commendations and certificates of appreciation throughout his career. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Utah, and has received professional certificates from Northwestern University, Boston University and the FBI’s National Academy.
In 1995, Clements suffered a gunshot wound in his thigh from an armed subject. While injured, he returned fire and struck the subject who later received a 30-year prison sentence. He also served as a sniper on the department’s SWAT team for sixteen years.
“No candidate has the depth of knowledge about this city and the department that Chief Clements possess,” added Morales.
“He’s not only well-respected within the organization, having served in practically every division and unit, but among his peers in the County having participated on most, if not all, of the regional task forces in which the city participates.”
Named as the MBPD’s second in command, Wayne A. Jones will be the city’s Deputy Police Chief. Jones has served with the Department since 1996. During his tenure, the city says he has achieved success in a variety of capacities and positions of rank including: patrol and special operations, community affairs, internal affairs, and criminal investigations.
The MBPD is constantly under pressure to balance the local residents’ interests with the tourism industry and millions of visitors that flock to Miami Beach each year, especially during big unruly weekends like Memorial Day and of course, Sprint Break season.
In response to criticism about the handling of security last year, Mayor Dan Gelber said he stood by the city’s more strict policing approach to the crowds. “I have no idea what they would prefer us to do. We cannot allow our public venues to devolve into open fighting. It’s just that simple.”
Some recent MBPD scandals include in September of 2018, the Miami New Times reported that MBPD civilian employees were fired for driving away with property stored in evidence lockers.
Also in 2015, the Miami Herald reported that two high-level former Miami Beach police officers sent hundreds of racist, pornographic and crude emails to fellow cops.