Miami’s Community News: Chief James Reyes: Proven Results and Executive Experience Matter for our First Sheriff Election in 60 Years

This November, Miami-Dade voters will make history by electing a sheriff for the first time in 60 years — and our Miami-Dade Police Department will become the Miami-Dade Sheriff’s Office. When choosing the best leader to guide our community forward as our sheriff, residents must take into account many things: candidates’ values and integrity, their vision for our community, and whether they possess the level of experience necessary to step in and do the job on day one. There is nothing more important than keeping our residents and families safe – and we cannot afford to elect a sheriff who needs a learning curve to adjust to the demands of the job.

As our Miami-Dade Chief of Public Safety, I am running to be the next Sheriff of Miami-Dade County because I am committed to keeping our community safe. Over the last 25 years as a public servant and dedicated law enforcement executive with experience across all areas of public safety, I have served under four different sheriffs – both Democrats and Republicans – and I have been promoted under all of them. In fact, I’m the only candidate in this race with executive leadership experience in a sheriff’s office, and that matters.

My journey, from a young boy who fled Cuba with my family to find safety and freedom in Miami-Dade, to now serving as Chief of Public Safety in the most populous county in Florida has taught me that duty, service, and community are not just words – they embody our values. I am honored to serve this community that gave me and my family a chance to achieve our own version of the American Dream, and I do so every day guided by community trust.

As our Chief of Public Safety, appointed by our Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, I am proud to oversee three departments that embody the strength of our community: Miami-Dade Police, Fire Rescue, and Corrections – making sure that all three departments are working efficiently and collaboratively toward the same mission: serving and protecting the residents of Miami-Dade.

Prior to this role, I was honored to serve as Miami-Dade’s Director of Corrections and Rehabilitation, overseeing one of the largest jail systems in the country. I took on the role with the following mission: identify and empower talent, establish best-practices, and correct deficiencies in order to challenge a status quo that wasn’t serving our community’s interests. Along with the remarkable team at corrections, I set about improving staff morale, increasing safety and security in the jails, and expanding re-entry services. We always worked with an eye toward collaboration, and I’m proud to say that under my leadership, the department achieved substantial compliance with U.S. Department of Justice requirements for the first time in over a decade, a major achievement for Miami-Dade.

Before returning home to Miami-Dade, I served the Broward Sheriff’s Office for twenty-two years, rising and earning every rank up to the rank of Colonel and serving in top command for 6 years. During my time there I was determined to be an agent for positive change. I became the first mental health deputy in the department’s history, and was proud to lead its award-winning crisis response team. As Executive Director, I managed a budget exceeding $1 Billion and oversaw regional and contracted municipal law enforcement, corrections, fire rescue, and 911 communication services. I also gained invaluable experience in project development, serving as the lead developer and project manager in complex public safety infrastructure projects like Broward County’s first state-of-the-art Real Time Crime Center and the first Research, Development and Training Center. I was also proud to negotiate with the county commission to secure pay raises for 911 dispatchers and eliminate vacancies threatening the overall level of public safety for residents.

Over the last 25 years of my career in public safety, I have accumulated valuable leadership experience – delivering public safety and proven results. Amongst a crowded field of candidates, I uniquely possess the depth of experience required to perform all functions of a sheriff. I’ve served as an officer, led award-winning teams and entire agencies, negotiated with and worked alongside elected officials, challenged the status quo, balanced billion-dollar budgets, earned public trust, solved problems and delivered solutions to keep our community safe. As our next sheriff, I will continue to deliver for our community – by strengthening what makes the Miami Dade Police Department one of the top law enforcement agencies in the country, enhancing law enforcement strategies while fighting corruption, and always building public trust.

In this crucial moment for Miami-Dade County, we need an elected sheriff we can trust to lead with integrity and who has a proven track record. After more than two decades of service, I know I can have a positive impact and keep our community safe. This November, let’s choose wisely and elect a sheriff who is not only qualified, and committed, but who possesses the experience needed to serve and protect all members of our community on day one of taking office.

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