Juan J. Perez
Juan J. Perez has dedicated his entire professional life to law enforcement. In 1990, he began his career as a police officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), and rose through all civil service ranks to attain the position of Director, when he was appointed to lead the agency in February 2016. Upon taking office, Director Perez had a vision for the agency which he shared with Department personnel, sworn and civilian, as well as the entire Miami-Dade County community: addressing gun violence, especially youth related shootings; recruitment of qualified, diverse personnel to lead the agency into the future; and enhancing the agency's technologies to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Most recently, Director Perez added the crisis involving heroin and synthetic opioids to his list of priorities, as there have been more deaths related to overdoses than murders over the last two years in Miami-Dade County.
In working to address gun violence and youth-related shootings, Director Perez has implemented a number of new initiatives, which combine a hands-on approach to working with stakeholders and community members using recognized best practices, a commitment to community policing, and law enforcement knowledge and experience. Recently, the Youth Outreach Unit became operational, committing MDPD officers to working with high risk troubled youth and their families, a unique approach for a law enforcement agency. To date, new technologies have been implemented successfully, including Body-Worn Cameras for improved transparency, ShotSpotter and License Plate Readers to address gun violence, and enhanced video for the Real-Time Crime Center to monitor events in real time. Director Perez has been proactive in revising internal policies to maximize public and officer safety, with particular attention to the Use of Force Policy as it pertains to deadly force. The policy revision was based on best practices recommended nationally by the Police Executive Research Forum, and Department data compared to national trends. Director Perez frequently advises his staff that this Department is a model law enforcement agency, committed to professionalism, dedication to service, strong community relationships and partnerships, and that the men and women of this agency "change lives for the better, making a difference."
Director Perez has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Saint Thomas University, an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice from Miami Dade College, and graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy and Major Cities Chiefs Association's Police Executive Leadership Institute. He serves as the President of the Police Officer Assistance Trust, a Countywide non-profit organization which helps officers and families in need; is a Commissioner on the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc.; and serves on many other boards actively advancing law enforcement, criminal justice, and the community.