‘Disrespectful to voters’: John Barrow blasts Daniella Levine Cava for endorsing his Sheriff’s race opponent

John  Barrow Daniella Levine Cava
He said the returning Sheriff's Office should ‘not be tainted by machine-style politics.’

Miami-Dade Police Major John Barrow thinks Mayor Daniella Levine Cava should have stayed out of the county Sheriff’s race.

Her choice not to, he said, suggests she’s trying to retain political control over a soon-to-be independent law enforcement agency.

“Make no mistake about it, voters will decide who is elected Sheriff of Miami-Dade County. While I respect the Mayor, I believe her endorsement in this race is inappropriate and disrespectful to the voters,” he said in a statement.

Barrow’s comments came hours after Levine Cava endorsed James Reyes, a longtime jail warden she hired from Broward County in late 2022, to be the county’s first elected Sheriff since 1966. She appointed Reyes last year to be Miami-Dade’s Chief of Public Safety, a role in which he oversees the county’s Police, Fire Rescue and Corrections departments — and answers directly to her.

“At a time when we are seeing an unacceptable level of public corruption in the county, I believe voters will demand that the next Sheriff will be accountable only to them and not be tainted by machine-style politics,” Barrow said.

Barrow and Reyes are two of four Democrats running for Sheriff. Thirteen Republicans are also seeking the job, including current Miami-Dade Police officers Jose Aragu, Jaspen Bishop, Orlando Lopez¸ Rolando Riera and Rosie Cordero-Stutz, whom Levine Cava tasked with oversee the Police Department-to-Sheriff’s Office transition.

Barrow launched his bid for Sheriff on Sept. 18, three weeks before Levine Cava named Reyes to the Public Safety Chief post and two days before former Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez withdrew from the race following an attempted suicide.

Many of the people who worked on Ramirez’s campaign are also behind Levine Cava and Reyes’ campaigns.

Reyes joined the Miami-Dade administration in December 2022, when Levine Cava hired him to take over the county’s 4,000-inmate jail system. He previously worked for more than two decades with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, including four years as its Executive Director and two as Director.

Miami-Dade hasn’t had an elected Sheriff since 1966, when county voters eliminated the position after a grand jury report revealed rampant corruption within the Department. Instead, the county has a Police Director, who is appointed by and reports to the Mayor.

But in 2018, 58% of Miami-Dade voters joined a statewide supermajority in approving a constitutional amendment requiring all 67 counties in Florida to have an elected Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Clerk of Courts by early 2025.

Levine Cava and members of the County Commission resisted the coming change and tried to set up an arrangement where the Sheriff and appointed Police Director would operate concurrently.

During the 2023 Legislative Session, however, lawmakers approved a pair of bills prohibiting the duplication of Sheriff powers.

The Primary Election is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election on Nov. 5.

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.


  • Elizabeth

    March 1, 2024 at 11:46 am

    It should be noted James Reyes in Broward County reports he’s never even written a traffic ticket. And that his resume is strictly as a turn key locking up Black people which leaves a lot to be desired in contrast to doing real law enforcement task. Also he clearly has no real comprehension of our diverse population. In addition his lack of law enforcement experience and training will surely lead to moral issues with the current highly educated trained experienced professional police force. There’s nothing worse than having a bureaucrat for a superior especially in an area where life and death is a daily dangerous reality. This can lead to higher levels of risk to law enforcement officers and community safety. Higher police officer turnover. Our police force our community deserves a professional educated police sheriff. If we elect an empty uniform suit for sheriff we can expect tragedy for the community and destruction of our police force that will take years to rebuild. A County that is larger than some seventeen states needs and demands a professional police force. It’s believed that under James Reyes jurisdiction in Broward and Miami Dade Corrections female detainees became pregnant! Has their been any investigation or accountability for this matter. Personal responsibility and integrity is an integral component in law enforcement. Another question that begs an answer is how long has James Reyes been a Democrat? Also I want to remind the Democrat Party of Miami that they are not to endorse against another Democrat.

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 5, 2024 at 7:13 am

    Sheriffs Departments that don’t answer to potentially Democrat mayors may seem like a good idea, but I guarantee it is not.

    This will bring tripled inmate death rates in local jails. That will make a few MAGAs happy at first, but after 2 years the death demographic statisticians have enough data to weigh in.

    Once the statisticians prove the increased death rates are anomalies stemming from non-natural contributing factors and the jails can’t prove the inflated rate of inmate deaths to be anything other than intentional (neglect, at best), then you got big, BIG problems that taxpayers have to pay for.

    Do NOT elect MAGA Sheriffs and then leave them to run their asylums. Just don’t do it.

  • Joseph Guadalupe

    March 5, 2024 at 1:10 pm

    Ernesto “Ernie” Rodriguez is also a current MDPD officer; he is not retired. You guys should do more research.

Comments are closed.


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