Beginning his first day on the job before dawn, Key Biscayne’s new police chief greeted many of his officers Monday, who had packed into a small conference room to meet the new boss.
“You have all researched me,” said Frank Sousa, “because you’re good cops,” eliciting a small chuckle.
Sousa (SOO’-sah) comes from 22 years in Fort Lauderdale, where he had served as assistant chief. His formal swearing-in happens Thursday.
“I’m a regular guy, I’m not coming here to turn the police department upside down,” Sousa told about 17 officers who had filled chairs lined around the room. While saying he will do an evaluation, he also told officers “there’s a lot of good things going on here.”
“I’m not going to do this the Fort Lauderdale way. This is Key Biscayne, and we’re going to do it the Key Biscayne way.”
Sousa takes over from Jason Younes, who had been serving as interim chief after the retirement of long-time chief Charles Press this summer. He was appointed by Village Manager Steve Williamson after a search that drew applicants from across the country. With five children, he told officers he’s a “family man” who understands the need for a good work-life balance.
Key Biscayne’s new budget increases the force by two officers, in part a response to demands for more presence after a small uptick in youth crime. The Village has consistently ranked as one of Florida’s safest communities, where complaints about golf carts often dominate local chat boards.
“Everyone tells me I’m going to have a big adjustment, coming from where I’m coming from,” he said to laughter. “It is nice not to get woken up twice a night with shootings.”
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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.