Opa-locka Officer Once Fired Now Leads Police Department's Administration

Officer Sergio Perez was promoted to lieutenant and was temporarily put in charge of running operations at the Opa-locka Police Department

091917 Opa Locka Police Department

After being fired from the Opa-locka Police Department five years ago, Officer Sergio Perez has now been promoted to lieutenant to temporarily oversee the department's administration.

The Miami Herald reports that Perez was fired 2015 after being accused of taking part in a wrong-way chase down Interstate 95 that ended in a crash that killed four tourists from California.

Perez was reinstated in November of that year after an arbitrator ruled the city’s probe was flawed, but the city fired him again when he returned to work.

After Perez sued to get his job back, the city agreed to a settlement that included reinstating him. Perez’s union lawyer has said three witnesses independently confirmed that Perez never raced the wrong way down the highway, according to the Herald.

Perez got the new job after the city manager fired Opa-locka Police Chief James Dobson last week. Dobson's attorney said the former police chief believes he was fired in part because he supported an officer who had ticketed the mayor's cousin during a traffic stop.

City Manager John Pate said the ticketing of the mayor's cousin had no bearing on Dobson’s termination. The firing came less than three months after an independent review determined the city’s police department was not able to respond to calls for service in a “professional manner.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that Officer Perez had been put in charge of overseeing the Opa-locka Police Department. City Manager and Director of Public Safety John Pate oversees the department; under his direction, Lieutenant Jenkins oversees operations and Lieutenant Perez oversees administration.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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