Chief René G. Landa was the guest of honor at a reception hosted by the Concerned Clergy and Citizen Coalition of South Miami (CCCC) and St. John AME Church. About 60 members of the CCCC, the Marshal Williamson community, and dignitaries turned out at the “Meet and Greet” to spend some time and share some food with the city’s new Chief of Police. Rev. Millard Campbell, pastor of St. John and Chaplin for the CCCC gave the invocation and Rev. Rodney James, President of the CCCC delivered the welcoming address. Mayor Philip Stoddard, his wife Dr. Gray Read, Rev. Gladys Turner (St. John AME), former Mayor Anna Price and students from Branches were among the well-wishers.
Chief Landa spoke about his dedication to serving the people of South Miami.
“I am both humbled and honored to serve this community and I look forward to working with all of you to make Community Policing a success in our city,” said Landa.
Also on hand to congratulate Chief Landa in his new post was retired Chief of Police for the City of Miami, Clarence Dickson and his wife Gwen Dickson. Chief Landa, who had served from 1980 to 2006 with the Miami Police Department, worked for a time under Chief Dickson’s supervision. Dickson was the first African- American to serve as Chief of Police for the City of Miami.
“Those were some days in Miami— Cocaine Cowboys, Mariel boatlift and a lot of civil unrest,” said Chief Landa.
South Miami’s new permanent Police Chief was sworn in on March 7, 2014. Major Landa, who joined the SMPD in 2010, had been serving as Acting Chief since August 2013 upon the termination of former Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro.
René Landa’s passion for law enforcement has been in his blood since he was a college junior and rode along with the police as part of his Criminal Justice studies.
“I was going to become an attorney, but after that one ride with Officer Delgado, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Landa.
A police officer for 35 years, Chief Landa’s leadership abilities are a result of his continued educational training and his onthe- job experience in the field. He has a master’s degree from Florida International University; has taken leadership classes at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and FIU; and he has trained with the F.B.I. at Quantico, Virginia.
Chief Landa has been married to his wife Maritza since 1978. Their son, Dr. René Landa, DMD is married to Andi Landa.
“The goal of law enforcement is finally to be a person who helps others. I expect that our officers will treat the public with the sincerest respect and the utmost professionalism,” said Landa.
To find out more about the Concerned Clergy and Citizen Coalition, contact Rev. Gladys Turner at 305-667-7937.