Police Director Freddy Ramirez files to run for Miami-Dade Sheriff
Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez suspends a Miami-Dade Police lieutenant who is also a vice president of the union. Image via NBC Miami.

The career member of the Miami-Dade Police Department hopes to be the county’s first Sheriff since the 1960s.

When Miami-Dade County voters next year elect their first Sheriff in more than half a century, the person currently doing the job in an appointed capacity — Police Director Freddy Ramirez — will be on the ballot.

A career member of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Ramirez’s candidacy to continue being the county’s top cop is a natural next step for the 28-year law enforcement veteran, who since 2018 has led a force of more than 3,000 sworn officers and 1,000-plus civilian staff.

It’s also an opportunity for a near-seamless transition of policing leadership in the county — and for Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to keep her choice of the county’s top cop in place.

“I’m running for Miami-Dade County Sheriff because keeping our neighborhoods safe and having the trust of our community is deeply personal to me,” he said in a statement Monday.

“As a husband and father, making sure our streets are safe has been my life mission — so our seniors, children, and families know they have trusted law enforcement looking out for them.”

Ramirez joined what at the time was the Dade County Police Department as a trainee in 1995. Over the next 28 years, he steadily moved up the ranks, serving in numerous departments in increasingly demanding roles.

Former Mayor Carlos Giménez named Ramirez, 52, Police Director in 2020 following the retirement of then-Director Juan Perez. When Levine Cava took over later that year, she kept Ramirez in place and two years later gave him the added responsibility of serving as interim chief of public safety, a job whose purview also includes Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida that does not have an elected Sheriff. County voters eliminated their Sheriff more than half a century ago after a 1966 grand jury report revealed rampant racketeering and bribery within the department.

The county’s unique home rule powers insulated it from legislative preemption on the matter for decades until 2018, when 58% of Miami-Dade voters joined a statewide supermajority in approving a constitutional amendment to require every Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Clerk of Courts and Supervisor of Elections to be chosen by their electorates by 2025.

While Levine Cava and members of the County Commission have since resisted the change while weighing alternative arrangements — including having the Sheriff and police director operate in a concurrent, complementary capacities — state lawmakers are close to passing legislation that would ban counties from duplicating Sheriff powers, which would be exclusive in unincorporated areas and shared with police chiefs in cities and special districts.

Existing state rules also require elections for Sheriff to be partisan, so Ramirez will first have to win a Democratic Primary in August next year before taking on the Republican nominee Nov. 5.

Two other candidates are in the race: funeral director and lifelong Miamian Rickey Mitchell, a Democrat, and Republican Ruamen de la Rua, who has worked for the Miami Police Department and as a Deputy Sheriff in Marion County.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704