A moving tribute Monday morning for the first African-American to lead the Miami-Dade Police Department - with a building used by the department being named after former director Robert “Bobby” Parker Sr.
“I grew to respect him, not just as a Black chief but as a chief’s chief,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan. “A person who had dignity, integrity and did not mind speaking his mind.”
“I would have the officers remember who he was and try to emulate him,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
Parker first joined the department in 1976 and served for over three decades, rising in the ranks to become director in 2004 before retiring five years later.
“It feels absolutely amazing and just to know that his legacy will live on and on in this great community that he so dearly loved,” said his widow, Veronica Parker.
In July 2015, Parker was found dead in his Northwest Miami-Dade home at the age of 62 with relatives saying he died by suicide.
Five years later, South Florida paid respect to his legacy of public service.
“Now, more than ever, we need something to unite us all together to show that this police department cares about this community,” said the department’s current director, Freddy Ramirez. “The great people who led it, the great people who lead it now and care about this community.”
Parker’s legacy will continue in the department with two children who are already officers and a third child set to be sworn in next week.