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New MDPD Director Talks Major Issues From Gun Violence To Body Cams

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Juan Perez now holds one of the most important jobs in South Florida. As the new Miami-Dade Police Director, Perez is charged with protecting more than 2.5 million men, women and children.

He hasn't had a chance to catch his breath in the last few days.

The 25-year police veteran was recently named the new director of the Miami-Dade Police Department and has been in meetings ever since, including meeting with CBS4's Natalia Zea to answer our questions about his vision for the Department.

Perez says he has "Three priorities moving forward. One is the violent crime involving our youth and involving gun violence."

He points out that some young people are hit by stray bullets, but others who were the intended targets have often committed crimes of their own.

He says he will shore up their community policing program, and come up with new ways to reach out to teenage repeat offenders.

"We have to break that cycle. Because once we come in with that enforcement and investigation, it's too late."

Director Perez also says he will aggressively recruit and hire quality police officers, to ensure a strong department.

His third commitment is bringing in technology, like devices that detect shots that have been fired, and immediately dispatch police before anyone calls 911.

He welcomes the upcoming use of body cameras, to protect the officers and the public. He also plans to access street cameras in real time.

"We can tap into cameras and see what's going on live so we can monitor and prepare our officers for what they're going into," said Perez.

Those who may be the most interested in Juan Perez are the 4,600 officers and staff members who will report to him. Some already texted Zea their opinions.

"His heart is in the right place. Born here and is very intelligent and educated. Hope he can handle the political climate," wrote one officer.

Perez responded, "We'll see. Time will tell right? But I think I can, of course."

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