August is here and as I said last month the mercury is rising and it's "Hot Hot Hot"! I hope everyone is ready for the start of the new school year, I know we are here.
Last month, I attended a charity soccer tournament held at FIU between the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Firefighters. After a minor weather delay the game started, and it was very entertaining. All the players were impressive in their athletic abilities. The game ended in a tie 1-1, but in my opinion, everyone was a big winner. While sitting in the stands watching the game, it was impressive to watch the teamwork being displayed, how they worked together for a common goal, no pun intended. You see groups don't become a team just because someone calls them one, it’s because everyone gets together to plan a strategy on moving a team forward. It was nice to see the teamwork not only on the field between the players, but outside and in the stands with the multiple agencies that were working together for this event. Great job by the officers from FIU, Sweetwater, Medley and MDPD. Hats off to all of our first responders for the great work that you do.
I hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July. I had the pleasure of attending the annual Cutler Bay 4th of July parade. The community involvement was great, and hats off to the Cutler Bay police officers for doing an outstanding job on maintaining the safety of all. The one thing I never tire of is the sight of our American Flag, which was proudly displayed throughout the community. It's always a good time watching the floats, cars and people decorated and dressed so patriotically. Simultaneously throughout the County there were many other July 4th parades and celebrations going on. Unfortunately I could not attend them all, but want to extend a big "Thank You" to all of those officers who were out there working hard to keep their communities safe. We here at the PBA would like to thank not only the officers working the streets but the ones that have been deployed overseas and abroad making sure that this Country is, and will always be, the land of the free.
One of our many brave officers who is stationed overseas is Officer Yunier Matos, who sent me a photo of his Unit proudly wearing the “#Rickystrong” brother in blue wristbands. To Officer Matos and all of the officers serving this great country, we thank you and we see you.
We have had quite a few retirements lately and last month, on July 7th, the longest serving police deputy from MDPD and the State of Florida, Hal Ruffner, retired after 45 years of service. Yes, you read that correctly, 45 years. There were a few big events that happened in 1972, Hal Ruffner became a police officer in Miami-Dade County, the Miami Dolphins won the Super Bowl and became the only team in history to have a perfect season, and PBA General Counsel, Andrew Axelrad, was born.
I first met Hal in 1990 while working for the City of Homestead. It was clear then and it was clear last month that Hal Ruffner is a great guy and always willing to teach and pass on his knowledge to other officers. When Hal did his final 09-06 over the police radio, it was a very long and impressive congratulatory send off from officers from around the county who said goodbye to a very good guy into a much deserved and well-earned retirement. I know a lot administrators let out a sigh of relief when they heard his final 09-06, because anyone that knows Hal, knows he did not take crap from anyone. Myself and everyone at the PBA wishes Hal all the best in his retirement. Hal, you will be missed.
Congratulations (although a little late) to Sergeant John Saavedra, who was honored for his acts of bravery and injuries which he sustained a few years back in a gunfight with a scumbag. I was proud to have attended an awards ceremony for Sergeant Saavedra, who was given the Gold Medal of Valor, a Purple Heart, along with a Lifesaving Award, Employee Excellence Award and was named distinguished employee of the month for April 2017. Miami-Dade Police Chief and PBA Board member, Charles Nanney, after learning of the over sight put the wheels in motion in making sure that Sergeant Saavedra was appropriately recognized. We here at the PBA say thank you and we see you!
See you next month. Stay safe!