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Former FBI Chief Called In to Assess Miami PD

Former FBI Chief Called In to Assess Miami PD

Paul Philip, then special agent in charge of Miami, discusses the hijacking case with the media on Friday, July 26, 1996, outside of the Miami International Airport. Philip was named an "advisor" to Miami police by Miami's city manager on Monday.

The Miami Herald via YellowBrix

February 01, 2011

MIAMI – Casting fresh doubt on the future of Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito, the city hired the respected former FBI chief who led Operation Greenpalm and the search for killer Andrew Cunanan to evaluate the police department from top to bottom — everything from policy to e-mails written by the chief.

Paul Philip, the former FBI agent in charge of Miami’s field office who also spent time as an anticorruption czar for then-county Mayor Alex Penelas, begins work Tuesday as a special advisor on public safety in Miami.

Philip, 63, a 24-year FBI veteran, will report to City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. Philip will not oversee Exposito, who will continue to report directly to the city manager. Philip, a partner at the security and consulting company Gaffney, Gallagher & Philip, was not made available to the public Monday.

It was not clear how long Philip will be on the job. Crapp said Philip has agreed to work 20 hours a week at $33.50 an hour. Until Philip submits a report to Crapp on the depth of the police department’s shortcomings, Exposito will retain his job, Crapp said.

``I needed someone with law enforcement expertise that I know will be objective,‘’ Crapp said. He hired Philip, he said, ``because of the variety of issues surrounding the city pertaining to public safety.’’

In a memo to city commissioners Monday, Crapp listed seven areas Philip will evaluate, from morale to policy to promotions in the ranks, and said his new czar will provide weekly updates.

Exposito declined to comment Monday. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, who said he is disturbed by the friction between Miami police and the state attorney’s office, called Philip’s hiring consistent with what Crapp said he would do in evaluating all department directors.

Crapp has not hired anyone outside the city to evaluate any other departments. The appointment of a respected former federal agent could give Crapp some political cover even as the rhetoric for Exposito’s dismissal escalates. Crapp has maintained he will take his time in evaluating Exposito before determining his future.

STRAYING RIFT

The rift between some elected leaders and Exposito has strayed well beyond policy disagreements and more into personal attacks. After eight years of stable relations between city management and police, Miami once again has catapulted to national attention over a series of miscues that have reached telenovela proportions.

Specifically, the chief has butted heads with Regalado and Commissioner Richard P. Dunn II, who have stated publicly they would like the chief gone.

Regalado and Exposito began to clash just a few months after the mayor signed off on the 36-year veteran’s appointment. The mayor pushed through an ordinance that made video gaming machines legal in the city. Less than two weeks after the ordinance passed, the police department raided dozens of shops and hauled off about 400 machines, arresting 28 people.

The chief later called a news conference to announce the mayor had interfered with the bust by asking police to back off, and asked for FBI intervention. Regalado denies the allegation, and accused police of putting him under surveillance.

Dunn’s issues with Exposito centered on four police shootings of black men in the inner-city last summer. At a City Commission meeting, Dunn wondered aloud if police were stalling the state attorney’s investigations of the shootings by not turning over timely information. Exposito said some of the shootings were the result of a turf war that began after police took guns off the streets.

The bickering continued two weeks ago, when Dunn introduced the public to a slick video made with the police department’s authority in which tough-talking officers arrested minorities and called themselves ``hunters’’ and ``predators.‘’ Exposito rejected Dunn’s request that he resign.

NO CHANGE

Dunn called the hiring of Philip ``an excellent choice that will give some comfort to the African American community,‘’ but said it won’t change his mind about Exposito.

``He was dishonest with all of us on the day I was trying to get him to resign,‘’ Dunn said. ``I wish I could say it sweeter, softer, nicer. But I can’t. He lied.’’

Dunn and Regalado are also upset about a series of e-mails between Exposito and State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, in which the chief said she misled the commission and the public about police documentation of the shootings.

Philip, who was chief of Miami’s FBI office for three years, left the agency in 1998 to serve as anticorruption czar under Penelas. He stayed on as assistant county manager overseeing public safety and ethics training for Miami-Dade’s nearly 30,000 employees.

In 2002, Philip, who lives in Weston, moved to the Miami-Dade school district, where he was chief of staff to then Superintendent Merrett Stierheim.

At the FBI, Philip oversaw 400 agents and much of Operation Greenpalm, a sweeping public corruption investigation that extended from Miami-Dade government to Miami City Hall.

He was also the face of the FBI during the manhunt for Cunanan, who murdered four people before killing fashion designer Gianni Versace.

The son of a Trinidadian immigrant, Philip grew up in New York’s Lower East Side. He speaks English and Spanish, and led the FBI’s Puerto Rico office from 1990-91.

``He’s a cool head,‘’ Stierheim said. ``He brings some calm to troubled waters.’’


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