MIAMI - Miami’s police chief, a nationally recognized leader dubbed “America’s Best Cop’’ by Esquire magazine, stepped down as one of his critics, the city’s new mayor, was sworn into office.
Chief John F. Timoney, who was previously Philadelphia’s chief, said he had fulfilled his mission by reducing crime and lowering officer-involved shootings.
Miami’s new mayor, Tomas Regalado, said yesterday that he instructed the city manager to ask the chief to step down, citing rising crime and low morale on the police force.
“We are very happy that we are past the chief of police issue,’’ Regalado said.
Timoney was credited with improving a department scarred by violence and scandal, while maintaining a high public profile. He often spoke about homeland security issues, and in 2000 Esquire wrote a cover story about him titled, “America’s Best Cop.’’ In 2007 he was profiled in The New Yorker.
Timoney’s tenure in Miami began in 2003 as 11 Miami police officers went to trial on federal charges of fabricating evidence and planting guns at crime scenes. His task was to clean up the department.
Under Timoney, the police department dramatically lowered officer-involved shootings, at one point going 18 months without an incident.
But Timoney’s record on civil liberties was questioned in November 2003. During protests at the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference, 146 people were arrested, and at least seven lawsuits were filed against the city.