Miami-Dade Police Director announces retirement
DORAL, Fla. (WSVN) -- Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus is retiring early.
His announcement comes just two days after Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez was reelected. Though they have had differences over budget cuts, Loftus said he was retiring early for only one reason: his family.
The 29-year veteran of the department was appointed director in 2010. He gave an impassioned news conference, Thursday morning where he stressed that he was not forced out. In fact, he said Gimenez invited him to stay on as police director. "My decision to leave here is my decision," he said. "I'm not being ousted or being encouraged to leave or discouraged from staying. It is my time."
Loftus is burning his available vacation days, making his last day with the Miami-Dade Police Department this Friday. The official end of his tenure will arrive Oct. 1.
The retirement is drawing strong reaction from heavy hitters across South Florida, including John Rivera, the president of Police Benevolent Association. "You know an old man who has since passed away told me early in my career, there's no such thing as coincidence in politics," Rivera said.
Loftus remained emphatic at the news conference and said he is leaving because he wants to be there for his two daughters, ages 11 and 13. At the age of 14, Loftus lost his father to lung cancer. At the intimate news conference, Loftus kept repeating the point that he wanted to be there for his children. "My dad died when I was a kid," he said. "My kids are reaching that age when my father died. I want to be there for them."
Miami-Dade Police Department Assistant Directors JD Patterson and Naim Erched will run the department until a new director is appointed.
Though he was emphatic that this was his own decision, it did seem difficult for him to leave. During his news conference he got teary-eyed at one point. He is known as an officer's officer, and, he said, it will be difficult for him to leave. "I was seconds away from melting in front of all of you," he said. "It's my family. That's the most emotional thing in my life."
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