Twenty-four years ago, Carlos Alvarez had just served 18 months as a supervisor in the Miami police department. It was obvious that the former Calgon salesman would not be satisfied as a sergeant for long, says the Miami Herald. Colleagues found his leadership style impressive: a fastidious combination of preparation, consistency, and ambition. Alvarez became police director; now he is a mayoral candidate, facing Commissioner Jimmy Morales in next Tuesday’s election. Alvarez has fashioned himself as an outsider to politics, savvy enough to know where the crooks are hidden and courageous enough to push them out of the public coffers.
His police department had a generally good record, with falling crime rates that mirrored national declines. Alvarez stepped up efforts to fight corruption and challenged prosecutors when he thought they were weak-kneed. Like many big-city police chiefs, Alvarez, 52, has faced complaints about civilian shootings and police brutality from blacks and the mentally disabled. Some officers complain that he played favorites. Alvarez headed a force of 2,974 sworn officers, plus more than 1,000 civilians. Alvarez, who founded the corruption investigations bureau in 2000, says he took career risks when he challenged public officials.