Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Fred Maas is earning accolades for multitasking… leading “best in blue” officers while simultaneously serving as interim City Manager until Christopher Russo returns to fill the position on Oct. 15.
Maas was appointed interim City Manager following the recent resignation of former City Manager Alan J. Cohen. Maas also served as interim City Manager once before following the departure of Russo, who originally served as City Manager from 2000 through 2005 – when Russo left to embark on a career in the private sector. In July of 2012, the City Commission voted to hire Russo back – but in the “interim,” Maas has been happy to help ensure Sunny Isles Beach is managing just fine.
Maas explained he feels serving as interim City Manager hasn’t compromised efficient management of the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department “We have a very competent team of department heads who are highly knowledgeable and their work ethic is incomparable,” he said.“I would say this additional task [serving as interim City Manager] is about guiding, directing or fostering the work they already do in their respective areas…It’s nothing my personal work ethic won’t allow for…I’ve always had one goal in all the years I’ve been here – and that’s to accept whatever challenge, request or task that has been asked of me for the betterment of residents and the City of Sunny Isles Beach.”
Maas co-founded the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department in 1998 and was named Captain and Assistant Chief and then in 1999, he was appointed Chief. “Chief Maas has worked diligently to build the Police Department up with safer streets and to establish policies and procedures reducing crime…He was appointed to the Governor’s Crime and Violent Crime Council by Governor Jeb Bush; and has received many honors and awards for his leadership and dedication,” said Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup while reading a proclamation honoring Maas.
Formerly a college baseball player, Maas has also served as an umpire for the North Miami Beach little league and youth baseball leagues. For “going to bat for the community,” in 2010, Maas was honored to have the baseball field at Pelican Community Park named the “Chief Maas Baseball Field.” Mayor Edelcup noted, “The city wanted to do something to honor [Chief Maas] because he has been the most beloved person since the inception of the Police Department – totally dedicated to making sure people feel safe.”
On behalf of the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department, Captain Michael Grandinetti added, “Chief Fred Maas has touched the lives of everyone in this agency…He has served as Chief with honor, pride and loyalty. Our officers and staff [revere] his leadership, compassion and dedication with his ‘how can I help you’ attitude and philosophy.”
‘BEST IN BLUE’
In 2010, Maas announced he would be retiring, but decided to resume his role as Police Chief just two months later. When Mayor Norman Edelcup broke the good news that Maas would be returning during a Concerned Citizens Meeting, thunderous applause rang out. Every month, it has been a tradition for Maas to honor the Police Department’s Officer of the Month at Concerned Citizens meetings.
Commenting on the city’s “excellent police services,” Maas said, “Over the years, this agency has received numerous awards and presentations for its Police Department. “All officers wearing the badge for Sunny Isles Beach Police are the driving force behind each of those recognitions. They are the ones ‘making the difference’ in the manner in which they serve this community.
“I’m very proud of the fine work and dedication that these officers put forth. Some might say these are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. I say, they are extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job!”
Led by Maas, the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department strives to create programs that reduce the need for police response while creating a safer, more secure environment. The department’s quick response time (less than two minutes) is one of its most effective tools in combating crime, saving lives in emergency medical situations and capturing perpetrators. Officers have access to emergency lifesaving equipment such as A.E.D.’s (heart defibrillators) and Jet Ski body baskets attached for ocean rescue. Officers are also detached to work with other agencies (Drug Enforcement Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation) to resolve problems and share in asset forfeitures, which in turn creates additional resources to benefit the city.
Officers patrol the city on motorcycles, jet skis, boats, ATV’s, bicycles, and in patrol cars. Special programs offered throughout the year include Red Ribbon Week, food drives, Toys for Tots, Kid Fest (including fingerprinting and ID program), the Police Officers Assistance Trust 5K Run, career day, and government day. Crime prevention programs are also offered including crime prevention and awareness, identity theft, vandalism, antirobbery, hurricane preparedness, gun safety locks, vehicle identification, anti-theft “club” giveaways, and fraud and scam education.
‘SAFE AT HOME’
Ever since the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department became operational on August 1, 1998, residents, business owners and visitors have appreciated enhanced public safety. “When [the late] Mayor David Samson first spoke with me, he said he promised the people the very best police department,” Maas said. “To fulfill that objective, I felt we had to recruit committed police officers – and today, I’m proud to say we have…There has been a significant reduction in major and violent crimes as compared to [the days before the city’s own police department became operational].”
Shortly after Sunny Isles Beach incorporated in 1997, Maas was hired to help get the Police Department up and running. During his impressive law enforcement career, Maas served on the Miami-Dade Detective Bureau, the Crime Suppression team and was a Sergeant assigned to the Internal Affairs section. Subsequently, he was appointed acting Lieutenant of the Criminal Conspiracy section where he served for eight years.
Maas’s extensive resume also includes receiving numerous awards and accolades; as well as serving on an executive committee linking municipal police departments with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. He is also often invited to be a master of ceremonies or speaker at many official events such as the 2011 memorial service for two Miami-Dade police officers tragically killed in the line of duty, where Maas delivered opening remarks.
Mayor Edelcup presented a proclamation to Maas in 2008, honoring his distinguished service to the city and achievements in the field of law enforcement, proclaiming October 16, 2008 as “Police Chief Fred Maas Day in the City of Sunny Isles Beach.”
Maas was also named a Knight of the Pontifical Order of St. Sylvester by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI – a recognition of the highest level of the Catholic Church and Archbishop of Miami. John Clement Favalora conferred this distinction upon Maas on Oct. 7, 2008 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Mary.
While expressing appreciation for the proclamation, Maas thanked the Commission and stated how proud he is that Sunny Isles Beach shared in the recognition. “This is the first time this award from the Vatican has ever been presented in the United States,” he said.
‘HOW CAN I HELP YOU’ ATTITUDE
“When I came on board as a Captain in April of 1998 it was like returning to my roots because about three decades ago, I started out on uniform patrol in Sunny Isles Beach,” Maas said. Following the resignation of the city’s first police chief, Maas took over the position and has since helped foster a progressive, community oriented style of policing where officers get out of the car and interact with residents and business owners. “Our officers follow a philosophy and ideology that they’re expected to go above and beyond what is normally expected,” Maas said. “We’re always striving to achieve higher levels of quality personal service with a ‘How can I help you?’ attitude.