Miami Springs

OPINION: Only Kahn should be chief


By Wallace Clark

Only Kahn should be chief

Current Miami Springs Police Chief Pete Baan will retire at the end of this year and the next chief should be, without a doubt, Captain Jon Kahn. The 36-year veteran came up through the ranks, serving as an undercover detective whose life was in danger more than all other officers combined. He was also a K-9 sergeant, lieutenant and is now captain/ assistant chief and acting chief when Chief Baan is out of town.

Earlier this year, Baan recommended to city management that Kahn be his replacement.

In an April 30 memo to City Manager Ron Gorland, Kahn said he would be willing to serve as chief; however, he didnít want to apply for the position. Meaning, he didnít want to go through the process. And he shouldnít have to.

Kahn is set to retire a year after Baan, but the captainís desire to be chief was unquestionably clear. Nevertheless, Gorland sent a July 23 memo to council members mentioning, in part: ď...John Kahnís subsequent letter opting out of consideration...Ē

Thatís blatantly untrue.

Politics seem to be playing a major part in the selection of the next chief and new requirements have been added to the application. The one that rankles many officers is ďBilingual English/Spanish preferred.Ē That would take Kahn out of consideration and eliminate everyone else in the current command staff Ė lieutenants and higher.

Note: About half of the current officers have Hispanic surnames and at least two non- Hispanic officers speak fluent Spanish, as well as several civilian employees. Thereís no shortage of Spanish speakers in the police department.

Contrary to public opinion, the police department is not autonomous. The final say goes to the city manager. When Lt. Steve Carlisle retired last December, his position was eliminated by Gorland, despite objections from Baan.

Eliminating a lieutenantís position meant that none of the four sergeants could move up in rank, no patrol officer would be promoted to sergeant and no Public Service Aide would be sent to the police academy. (The eligible PSA was hired by Miami-Dade Police.)

More than 40 people have applied to be Miami Springs Police Chief and since Gorland told Kahn in person that he isnít being considered for chief, itís obvious that the new chief will come from somewhere else.

In a highly questionable and disrespectful move, Chief Baan, who has lived in Miami Springs his entire life, wasnít included in the hiring process.

While the new hire will obey orders from management, Baan and Kahn are longtime cops and dedicated to their officers. However, they sometimes question management and Gorland doesnít like that. Most likely, a new chief wonít know anyone under his command and will be unquestionably obedient and loyal to the people that got him or her (highly unlikely) the job.

The new chief will undoubtedly bring in some of his own people, pushing current officers further down the line. That will send a message to the rank-and-file that no matter how long or how well you do your job, it doesnít mean you will be promoted or become chief.

Rumors are rampant that one elected official has talked to a high-ranking bilingual police officer from another agency and encouraged him to apply for the job. Not illegal, but questionable and unethical.

One of city managementís objections to Kahn is his upcoming retirement, which has nothing to do with his ability to do the job of chief for a year. Kahn also doesnít have all the college requirements that are on the current application; however, they can be waived.

Another option is to name Kahn acting chief or interim chief for his last year. It would be ludicrous to say he canít do the job or that hiring a new chief is crucial and immediate.

When all the forms are filled out and interviews completed, choosing a new chief comes down to one person: City Manager Gorland. He can name the newest rookie, if qualified, to be chief.

Whatís amazing but not surprising is that none of the council members have objected to Kahn being passed over for chief. No matter that elected officials have one vote each, not one opposes Gorland on this issue and itís obvious at council meetings that Gorland and Garcia run the show.

Council members should question why Kahn is not being considered for chief and why Gorland told the council that Kahn opted out. Kahn asked for the job and he deserves it more than anyone.

Opinion of Wallace Clark without input or approval from Baan or Kahn.

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Mr. Clark seems to feel that simply sticking around long enough and being in danger as an undercover over 20 years ago qualify someone to lead a police department. Just looking from the outside there appear to be many problems in addition to the pension. What is needed is someone with education and experience who has connections to other departments in the county. Ideally a local resident who retired from another department with rank and leadership experience. Kahn doesn-t live here and he-s not very articulate when he addresses Council in the Chief-s absence.

Pink slip

Most of the part timers are related to a member of the city. What do you really do? Some make an outrageous amount of money. Nepotism at its finest. Slanted, not so much, just becoming poorer at the hand of those that line their pockets, I would say. Educate yourself, then we can talk, you know where I can be found. Kisses to all my haters.

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Beautiful Miami Springs is a quiet residential community located in the heart of Miami-Dade County, Florida. Literally, just minutes away from anything in Miami, it's a slow paced oasis within the larger hustle and bustle of greater Miami.

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