Miami Beach Police Chief announces retirement - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Miami Beach Police Chief announces retirement

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Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez has announced that he is retiring.

On Thursday, Martinez announced he will retire on April 4. He has been chief of police there for two years and has been with the Miami Beach Police Department for more than 12 years. "I think it is the right time for the department, for the city and for myself," said Martinez. "In the last 25 months we have not had a single police-involved shooting ... excessive force complaints have dropped by a third of what they used to be."

7News reporter Rosh Lowe, who sat down with Martinez following the announcement of his retirement, asked Martinez about the controversy surrounding the death of 18-year-old Israel Hernandez. Martinez was chief when the 18-year-old was caught spray-painting graffiti on Miami Beach and tasered by Miami Beach Police officers. "Again, my condolences to the Hernandez family. It is a tragedy," said Martinez.

The case remains under investigation. "We are still waiting for the medical examiner to rule exactly what was in play and what happened," said Martinez.

Martinez pointed out his accomplishments. "We re-engineered Memorial Day. Remember what Memorial Day was three years ago? In the last two years ... we have been able to manage the crowds," said Martinez.

His department was also in charge of the Justin Bieber DUI arrest. "Being evaluated and scrutinized at every level and every action that is taken, I think we handled that as professional as you can be," said Martinez.

After being asked why he is leaving after so many accomplishments, Martinez said, "Well, I think the new mayor, the new commission has made indication that they want to make changes, and I respect that."

In a statement, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales said in part: "We are indebted to Chief Martinez for his 12 ½ years of dedicated law enforcement service. He epitomizes the phrase, 'An officer and a gentleman,' and I have personally enjoyed working with him during this past year."

The Police Executive Research is conducting a search for a replacement.

Martinez has agreed to stay beyond April 4, if necessary, to help make the transition smooth for the new police chief.

He also said he is leaving all options on the table for the future.


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