California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 16

“I’d be at lunch, and someone would say, ‘Miranda will pick up the check. He’s making a half-million bucks,’” said Miranda, who since October 2012 has been acting police chief of Bell – a title awaiting formal approval from a City Council still reeling from the departure, under a cloud, of several city officials. In a recent chat with CalChiefsNews, Miranda, 46, in his 23rd year with the Bell PD, discussed the challenges of moving beyond the scandal and lessons learned at an agency still continuing on the road to recovery. “It was an extreme challenge on multiple levels,” said Miranda, whose staff during this same time period has been reduced from 42 to 32 sworn officers. During the nearly yearlong investigation into the scandal the department had to continue running its daily operations and I became the point person for almost every investigator who came to town.” This included investigators from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the IRS, the FBI and the Department of Justice and PERS, among others. After the resignation of the highly paid former chief, Miranda assumed the de facto position of acting police chief as his position as captain was the highest-rank in the department. For Miranda, a family man who as a cop has always prided himself on forging friendly and close ties to members of the Bell community, it was a time of stress and long hours. For weeks, his cell phone would ring day and night. “It was like a roller-coaster ride with no safety belt,” he says. Miranda said his solid ties to the community helped him weather the storm. 16 | Behind The Badge Miranda said he never envisioned something like this when at 23, married and working at a carpet cleaning business in 1991, he met a Bell police sergeant. The sergeant was moonlighting at the time to make some extra money suggested he consider police work. corruption was limited to only the highest levels of government, giving the officers and staff (including Miranda) a clean bill of health. He was quoted at one point saying that the BPD included a hard working group of employees trying to do a difficult job under very challenging circumstances. He took the sergeant’s advice and joined the Bell PD. Over the next seven years he found his niche in narcotics investigations and drug interdiction and community based policing while continuing his education. He began advancing through the ranks, spending seven years as a sergeant, two years as a lieutenant and six as a captain before the storm hit and he stepped in to the lead role. After a lengthy chief’s testing process Miranda was once again handed the reins of the department in October of 2012. 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