Maj. James J. O’Donnell returns as Kendall District commander

By Richard Yager….

Citizens Advisory Committee chair Barry White welcomes Maj. James J. O’Donnell, new Kendall District commander, at the CAC’s Dec. 8 meeting.

A familiar neighbor and police veteran has returned to Miami-Dade Police Kendall District to command a force of more than 200 officers and an administrative staff support team.

Maj. James J. O’Donnell, who served with the Kendall District in the late 1980s and 1990s, was welcomed by Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) chair Barry White and members during a Dec. 8 CAC session.

In an informal chat with its members, Maj. O’Donnell credited his predecessor, Maj. Michael Herrera, with reducing overall crime by 7 percent throughout the district with the only a single increase (3 percent in home burglaries).

“We’re especially pleased that we now have activated a 14-member motorcycle unit to better police neighborhood areas,” O’Donnell said, noting “technological advances will play an increasing role in diminishing even small crimes by interacting computers, tweeters and Facebook to more quickly identify and locate suspects.”

Maj. Herrera has been assigned to the Special Victims Bureau, which replaced the former Sexual Crimes Bureau during recent restructuring of the department by director James Loftus.

Prior to taking command Nov. 1, Maj. O’Donnell served two years with the Strategic Planning and Policing Bureau, supervising officers and staff who provide administrative support for all police service activities.

“I’m no stranger to Kendall, however,” Maj. O’Donnell told CAC members, noting his 28-year police career began in May 1982 as a uniform patrol officer in Kendall.

Through March 1999, except for a 17- month assignment to the Key Biscayne Bay Operations unit, O’Donnell continued service in Kendall, rising in rank from corporal and sergeant to lieutenant as supervisor of uniform patrols and the Neighborhood Resource Unit before transferring to Cutler Ridge.

He served the Police Administrative and Police Services Bureaus (later named Strategic Planning and Municipal Administration Bureau) from 2008 to 2010, the servicing bureau that supervises accreditation activities, departmental policies, and negotiates contracts with newly formed municipalities.

Receiving his BS degree in Science from Nova University in 1991, he completed his master’s degree at the University of Miami in 1998 and a majority of credits earned in organizational leadership for a PhD at Lyons University in Boca Raton.

He is a member of the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, International Association of Law Enforcement Planners and Police Executive Research Forum, among several affiliations with police associations.

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