In the City of Miami gardens where within the last two years two male police chiefs have either been terminated, or resigned early in their assignment, a woman police officer, Delma K. Noel Pratt, a 24 year veteran, has been appointed the police chief of that city, effective May 1.
The historical announcement of the city’s first female African police chief was made by city manager Cameron Benson on Tuesday. Later in the day Mayor Oliver Gilbert hailed Chief Noel-Pratt’s appointment say he is “excited” to welcome her as the police chief.
Some citizens were surprised to hear of Noel-Pratt’s appointment. Although they were aware that a new chief would be appointed to fill the vacancy after former Police Chief Antonio Brooklen resigned last year, some were surprised it was not filled by Acting Police Chief, Cynthia Mechanic..
“I can’t understand why the city officials did not hire the acting chief,” said city resident Lydia Wynfield, a middle school teacher.
However, Reverend Horace Ward, pastor of the Holy Family Episcopal Church in Miami Gardens, and a member of the city’s Citizen Advisory Board said according to information he received, Mechanic didn’t apply for the position. “She was called out of retirement or from being on the verge of retirement to act as police chief when Chief Brooklen resigned,” Ward said.Rev, Ward said he was not aware of the appointment of the new chief until he was advised on Tuesday. He says he has not met her, but from what he has heard she appears “to be well suited and capable to lead the city’s law enforcement responsibility.”
Chief Noel-Pratt Noel-Pratt’s began her law enforcement career with the City of Miami Police Department in 1989 as a public service aide. In 1993 she joined the Miami-Dade Police Department as a certified police officer, rising to the position of Major. In 2013, she was appointed to Division Chief and was assigned to the county’s North Operations, with responsibility for command and control of all functions within the Court Services, Economic Crimes, Narcotics, Homeland Security and Warrants Bureaus.
“The city of Miami Gardens is fortunate to have a leader of her caliber, expertise, and talent in service of the greater Miami Gardens’ community,” said City Manager Benson.
The new police chief regards her appointment as giving hope to young black women, as it signifies to them that irrespective of the challenges they face “anything is possible.” She says she wants her achievements to be an inspiration and an example to other female police officers.
Faced with the challenge to curb a persistent crime rate in the primarily African and Caribbean-American populated city, Chief Noel-Pratt says her strategy to do this include increasing community policing, engaging the community and making the police more visible in the community. She says she wants the city’s residents to know that she is “here for them and don’t intend to let them down.”