After years of complaints and controversial shootings, Miami-Dade police will no longer investigate itself for criminal wrongdoing in shooting deaths. Those probes will now fall under the watchful eye of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami Herald reports. The move by the largest police agency in the southeastern U.S., which rarely accuses one of its own of using excessive force in a shooting death, was hailed by county leaders as a lesson in objectivity.
Local civil rights groups, which for years have been calling for the department to distance itself from investigating its own, are warily on board. The police union is complaining about not being involved in the negotiation process. “It really is an effort to give the public a sense of third-party objectivity,” said Miami-Dade County Police Director J.D. Patterson. “It's always a good idea to have an objective third party from time to time if your integrity is questioned.” County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who pushed for the change, said it will make the department more transparent and strengthen the community's trust. “I don't believe agencies should be investigating themselves,” the mayor said.