Miami-Dade County’s former police director has plans to return to a county position under Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who on Wednesday announced a new administrator to oversee public safety.
Freddy Ramirez, who shot himself with his police-issued handgun July 23rd hours after an encounter with law enforcement in Tampa, is planning to assume an advisory role at the Miami-Dade Police Department helping with the county’s transition in 2025 from an appointed police director to an elected sheriff. Ramirez was the favorite for the sheriff’s race before the suicide attempt, which left him critically wounded, and he withdrew his candidacy in September. The memo said he’ll return to work in late January.
The night of the shooting, Tampa police briefly handcuffed Ramirez in a Tampa hotel where he was attending a Florida sheriffs convention after a report he brandished his gun in an argument with his wife, Jody, but the allegation was never substantiated and Ramirez wasn’t charged.
Also on Wednesday, Levine Cava made the following staffing announcements:
▪ A permanent director for the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD): Ramirez went on medical leave after the shooting, and Levine Cava appointed one of his top commanders, Stephanie Daniels, interim police director on July 24. On Wednesday, Levine Cava made the appointment permanent, cementing Daniels as leader of a 4,700-person department as it prepares to be absorbed by a sheriff’s office now mandated by the Florida Constitution. She’s the first woman to hold the post of MDPD director.
▪ While serving as MDPD director, Ramirez held a second post under Levine Cava: chief of public safety, which had him overseeing both the Police and Fire Rescue departments. On Wednesday, Levine Cava promoted her Corrections director, James Reyes, to that post. Along with Police and Fire Rescue, Reyes will oversee Corrections, a department he was hired to run just 11 months ago. The appointment of Reyes, a Cuban-American Democrat who was a senior commander at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, comes as Levine Cava and her political team are looking for a Democrat to take Ramirez’s place as a candidate for sheriff. Asked about a potential run in a brief interview last week, Reyes said: “I’ve been approached. I’ve been humbled by that.”
▪ JD Patterson, who was named chief public safety officer after Ramirez’s wounding, will take on a new post under Levine Cava called chief of preparedness and forensics. That will have Patterson, a retired county police director, overseeing the Department of Emergency Management and the office of the Medical Examiner.
▪ Sherea Green, deputy director of Corrections, will take over the top job with Reyes’ promotion. She started her career as a typist in the Broward County jail system in the 1990s. The change in Corrections leadership comes days after Reyes was part of the county presentation to a federal judge touting progress in complying with a 2013 court-ordered mandate that it institute reforms resulting from a Justice Department lawsuit more than a decade ago. A court monitor concluded earlier this year the county is in compliance with the requirements for the first time since the litigation began.
▪ Ramirez’s title will be senior advisor for policing and transition. The Levine Cava memo said Ramirez is returning to the police department in his new role but will be reporting directly to the mayor. The police department launched an internal affairs investigation into Ramirez’s firing his weapon and has not released the details of that probe. A spokesperson said Wednesdaythe investigation was still underway.
▪ Christopher Carothers, assistant director of MDPD over investigative services, is being promoted to deputy director under Daniels.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our residents and visitors,” Levine Cava said in a statement. “This new public safety leadership team will ensure we are leaning on long-time expertise in our departments while also elevating proven leaders — and I’m especially proud that for the first time in Miami-Dade’s history, we will have Black women at the helm of both our Miami-Dade Police Department and Corrections Department.”