For starters, did anyone notice that the still-serving Chief of the North Miami Police Department was conspicuously absent from the Police Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday morning?
Has there ever been a chief of police of any department in any city in the USA who skipped out on such an incredibly important event?
The short answer is “Yes.”
The long answer is “Yes. Chief Lenny.”
How disrespectful to the three North Miami Police Officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving the community. How disrespectful to their families.
Then again, we are not talking about an individual who has respect for what it means to be a professional law enforcement officer. We are talking about someone who is the personification of incompetence, and who became the laughing stock of the county within months of his hiring.
It only got worse from there.
On June 4, 2014, Leonard Burgess became the chief of the police department of the sixth largest municipality in Miami-Dade County. It wasn’t long before it became obvious that Lenny was the wrong choice. Unfortunately, an equally incompetent city manager, Aleem Ghany, refused to admit he made a mistake, dug his heels in, and refused to fire Chief Lenny. I’m guessing out of sheer embarrassment. Or just plain spinelessness.
Then again, Lenny did the same exact thing when he refused to fire a serial predator cop, despite Jodlyn Antoine’s numerous violations of NMPD standard operating procedures, NMPD rules and regulations, and civil service rules, not to mention his illegally accessing the police database for the purpose of stalking women.
If Aleem had had any leadership skills, both Chief Lenny and Officer Antoine would have been fired on the spot.
The Antoine incident, however, certainly wasn’t Lenny’s only screw up.
During the 2014 city council election, he inserted himself by overtly siding with one of the mayoral candidates. Unfortunately, he bet on the wrong horse. When Dr. Smith Joseph handily beat his opponent, Kevin Burns, in the mayoral race, Lenny had egg on his face. He was eventually forced to promote Gary Eugene to Assistant Chief instead of Franzia Brea, who also supported Burns.
Instead of learning his lesson, which was to STFU and stay out of politics, Lenny stepped up his game.
Let’s review some of the “highlights” of Lenny’s short career as the NMPD’s top cop.
There’s the time he flat out lied about past sexual harassment charges filed against him when it was mentioned on a police website. I soon dug up a formal complaint filed against him by a female subordinate when he worked for the Miami-Dade Police Department. This sergeant took offense at (among other things) his calling her “Chica Rica” in a text message. Imagine that! In retaliation, Lenny had her “transferred” out of a her unit, which was actually a demotion.
Yes, he’s that vindictive.
Lenny then went on a mole hunt to search for the officers in his department whom he believed was “leaking” information to the media. In his extreme paranoia, he targeted the very people who supported his appointment as chief in the first place. One of those individuals was a professionally trained and well respected public information officer whose skills would have been a tremendous help to Lenny’s image. Instead, Lenny viewed the seasoned PIO as a threat and replaced him with an amateur.
Yes, he’s that hapless.
Another proud moment in NMPD history under Chief Lenny’s watch, was the time one of his dispatchers made death threats from his personal cell phone while on duty. When questioned by the media about the incident, and the token “punishment” the dispatcher received, Lenny ducked into a council meeting to avoid the reporters.
Yes, he’s that shifty.
Speaking of Chief Lenny’s dispatch office, yet another 911 operator completely dropped the ball when a resident, believing his mother was having a heart attack, called for help. Because of the delay in dispatching first responders, it took over half an hour for that help to arrive. Instead of accepting responsibility for the screw up, Chief Lenny falsely blamed the county’s 911 dispatch center.
Yes, he’s that childish.
And who can forget the time his dispatchers were asleep at the wheel and left a gun unattended for five hours in the lobby of the police department? Unable to find a scapegoat for this new disaster, but unwilling to speak to the media and take responsibility, he shoved his woefully unprepared PIO before the unforgiving cameras. He armed her with a hastily contrived “solution,” which included an updated camera system and a gun buy-back program, neither of which would possibly prevent the same thing from happening again. If the dispatchers had been doing their jobs, the gun would have been attended to immediately. Instead of fixing the real problem, Chief Lenny decided to man the police department lobby 24/7 with an officer being paid overtime, to the tune of approximately $9,000.00 this year so far. Courtesy of North Miami taxpayers, as usual.
Yes, he’s that incompetent.
And don’t forget Chief Lenny’s fudging of crime stats, failure to alert the public about dangerous suspects on the loose, and refusal to issue press releases about armed home invasions in Keystone Point and Griffing Park Estates.
And, of course, there is Chief Lenny’s penchant for rewarding sycophants and punishing those who refuse to suck up to him.
Chief Lenny gifted CIVILIAN budget dude (who was once arrested and charged with five counts of conspiracy and civil rights violations) Jorge Manresa with a $25,000.00 undercover police SUV fitted with police emergency equipment, while he still blatantly discriminates against his Haitian Assistant Chief of Police Gary Eugene, who by the way, STILL has not received the salary increase he is entitled to.
Things started coming to a head when Keystone Point residents finally spoke out after years of watching their previously safe neighborhood become a haven for burglars, robbers, car thieves and vandals. Chief Lenny’s response? He put up a flashing sign … IN AN UPSCALE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD … advising residents that they live in a high crime area.
But the final nail in the proverbial coffin was hammered in last Thursday afternoon when, try as he might, he couldn’t figure out how to spin the bad news that HIS police department failed the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation three day on-site assessment. By Saturday morning, he finally gave up and told City Manager Larry Spring of his decision to resign.
That’s the “official” story anyway, according to a Miami Times article posted this afternoon.
Even though the article mentioned that Chief Lenny had to “endure criticism by one blogger,” the reporter was mostly solicitous toward the outgoing chief. She obviously took her talking points from the excessively elaborate resignation letter that was intended to sing his praises.
It’s quite obvious the letter was ghostwritten because, unlike Lenny’s typical writings, this one contains complete sentences with proper punctuation and no grammatical errors.
Plus, there’s not even one ” 🙂 … Thank u ” in the entire note!
Lenny also professed appreciation for “the command staff and all the men and women of NMPD for their continued support and friendship.”
And, yes, he’s that delusional.
Leonard Burgess had absolutely no intention of resigning at any time in the foreseeable future. He fully expected to continue his vindictive, hapless, shifty, childish, incompetent, clueless, and delusional ways with no consequences.
However, thanks to the many residents, community leaders and police officers who spoke out at public forums to voice their displeasure with this police chief, he had to have realized that he was only fooling himself.
Chief Lenny’s failed leadership, lack of professionalism, refusal to take responsibility, and inability to address community needs, ultimately led to his own undoing.
A community’s number one priority should be public safety. After almost two years of ill-conceived crime fighting policies, risky decision making, and petty vindictiveness exhibited by an incompetent chief, the North Miami Police Department was sorely in need of reform.
VotersOpinion and its research staff wish to congratulate the residents of North Miami for making this change a reality.
“Spreading the Wealth”