Former South Miami Police Chief Bobby Richardson was recently sworn in as the new Chief of Police for the sovereign Miccosukee nation of approximately 600 members residing in Southwest Miami Dade County.
“I have known Bobby Richardson for over 15 years as fellow members of the Miami Dade Police Chiefs Association,” said Miccosukee Police Commissioner and Swearing in Ceremony Leader Ray Weeks. “After a national search, the tribal chiefs and I agreed that Bobby’s experience, coming from a small community and being a local individual, represented the type of leadership we were looking for.”
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe living in the Florida Everglades. According to The Tribe, “it is their goal to articulate their beliefs and values by transmitting the essence of their heritage to their descendants.” Commissioner Weeks introduced the ceremonies bilingually in both “American English” and Miccosukee.
A soft rhythmic language reminiscent of Latin roots, the Miccosukee tongue is the first language of the tribe, spoken and taught in the village. “American English” typically refers to the third language of the tribe, after Miccosukee and Seminole (tribal language of the Seminoles just north of the Miccosukee). When Police Commissioner Weeks was asked how to say “Congratulations” in Miccosukee he said some words do not translate.
“There are certain words that do not translate into the Miccosukee language. We believe when you wake up in the morning you are already blessed by your creator and so certain expressions like “congratulations” are already embedded in the language. We are called to treat all of mankind with respect so saying something like congratulations is not necessary because we already acknowledge a level of respect and gratitude as a given to all that work with us,” said Weeks.
New Police Chief Richardson and the strong presence of family and friends at the swearing in ceremony appeared to confirm the police commissioner’s sentiments. “This is a great new start for me and I am overwhelmed by the support as I embark upon this tremendous opportunity. The chance to be at the forefront of another agency once again and to serve the Miccosukee community is a great honor,” said newly inducted Chief Richardson. “I had a great career as Chief for the City of South Miami and that experience has only helped me today.”
Richardson intends to focus on community policing to establish good working relationships with the Miccosukee. “There is so much to learn in the uniqueness of being here as part of a sovereign nation. I plan to be out in the community and get to know the residents. The laws and styles of governance along with the appropriate federal, state, and county laws are unique here and it is a very exciting new beginning for me and my family,” said Richardson.
Police Commissioner Weeks said Richardson’s style of leadership is what made the difference. “We are a small community and we were looking for a handson compassionate leader not a big city police chief who goes by the numbers. People are human and they make mistakes, we are going through some difficult financial times, not just in America but worldwide. We need compassionate leadership and we believe we found it in Bobby.”