A Bible and a badge
J.D. Patterson, Miami-Dade Police Department and Mayor Carlos Gimenez shake hands after Patterson was sworn in as police director. — Courtesy of Miami-Dade Police Department
By Jimmie Davis, Jr.
Most cops take off their badge when the shift is over but J.D. Patterson, 52, isn’t the typical police officer because on some nights after his duties are finished, and on Sunday mornings, he travels over to Mount Sinai Baptist Church and picks up a Bible to preach the gospel.
Patterson a native of Miami and 30-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department [MDPD], has worked his way to the top where he was recognized by Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Mayor who recently appointed him director of MDPD.
It’s been two months since Patterson took over the helm, which gave him time to settle in and get the swing of things at the department. However, it’s still business as usual and the public wants to know his strategy on how he plans to tackle crime in the streets of Miami.
He was invited to speak before the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Boards [CRB] to give an account of his vision for the 2,800-member police force he now commands and answer a few questions from board members.
“In our field things can change in an instant,” said Patterson during the panel discussion. “We have to be able to respond effectively and provide safety for our residents.”
There’s a tremendous amount of crime that’s transpiring in hot spots in the county, and Vickie M. Smith Jackson, board member CRB, asked Patterson how he aims to take preventive measures of improving relations with the low income sectors of the community?
He says that it’s very important his department stays in contact with the youth that live in distressed districts.
“We must improve the outreach with the low income com-munities, because we are com-mitted to those particular areas,” Patterson said. “It’s very important to us that we reach out to the young people to encourage them. We must also address their socio-economic and educational condition through proactive programs.”
There are good cops and MDPD has had their share of bad cops and board members wanted to know what the new director has in store to deal with renegade police officers?
He says that policies are in place such as early identification where officers that engage in “risky behavior” will be observed by their supervisor.
Herman Martinez, board member CRB says he’s been a victim of racial profiling, and that the community would like to see the MDPD as friends and not the adversary.
“Once these things come to our attention we try to address them,” said Patterson. “Our challenge is to build up trust we lost back in the 80’s during the McDuffie riots.”
Patterson graduated from Miami Jackson High and finished his undergraduate studies at Barry University. He then completed his master’s degree at the University of Miami.
He’s been married to his lovely wife Carol for 28-years and they have two daughters.