Officer Roberto E. Valdes
City of Miami Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officer Roberto E. Valdes of the City of Miami Police Department as its Officer of the Month for December 2005.
Officer Roberto Valdes firmly believes in the concept of community policing and knows that it is essential for officers walking the beat to take the time to build a rapport with the residents and merchants he has sworn to protect. Having a more personal relationship with members of the community is not only beneficial for the officer; it also fosters a sense of trust and respect on the part of the citizenry for those in uniform.
True to his word to come to the aid of those in his community at any time, Officer Valdes provided local business owners his personal telephone number after learning that hostile drunks and prostitutes were pestering customers and littering the area. With department approval, Officer Valdes together with some fellow officers, systematically targeted the troubled spots and was able to clean up the area making it safe for the merchants and their customers. According to Chief John Timoney, “Officer Valdes perceives every day as an opportunity, a new chance and a challenge to help the citizens and improve the quality of life for those in Little Havana.”
April 2005 was a typical month for Officer Valdes. According to department records, he made 92 “quality arrests” as well issuing 119 summonses for traffic accidents and violations at critical intersections. One case in particular was of critical concern to Officer Valdes. Reports of an adult male exposing himself to young girls at a local elementary school flooded the department. Knowing some of the children at the school, and as father himself, Officer Valdes was outraged and determined to track down this disturbed individual.
Soon after Officer Valdes began surveillance on the area he spotted an adult male who fit the description. Never letting the suspect out of his site, Officer Valdes radioed his fellow officers to set up a perimeter to cover all of the escape routes. When the area was secure, Officer Valdes approached the suspect, who began to flee. After a short foot chase, Officer Valdes caught and detained the suspect until he could be positively identified by several of the school children. Placing this particular suspect under arrest gave Officer Valdes a great sense of pride as again he was getting someone off the street that was a serious threat to the people of his community. The suspect was later found guilty and charged with a felony charge of sexually assaulting a minor.
The excitement only escalated for Officer Valdes throughout the month. Later in April 2005 he responded to a call of an intoxicated individual who was wielding an 8″ knife in one had and a 7″ kitchen fork in the other. The man was threatening to kill the woman who lived in the building. Using sound tactics and persuasive skills, Officer Valdes was able to diffuse the situation, disarm the man, and place him under arrest without injury to anyone.
Only two days later, Officer Valdes once again responded to domestic disturbance call involving an individual who again with a large knife was threatening to kill his live-in girlfriend if she ever left him. Arriving at the scene, Officer Valdes spoke with the woman who had managed to escape from the apartment. She stated that suspect was still inside and refused to give up the knife. Officer Valdes and his partner quickly orchestrated a plan of action. Rather than his sidearm, Officer Valdes drew his Taser as the two officers entered the apartment and found the suspect in his bedroom with the knife resting on top of the television. Officer Valdes instructed the suspect not to move yet the suspect ignored the officers and began reaching for the knife. After several more orders to halt, Officer Valdes was forced to take action and downed the suspect with his Taser. Valdes was once again recognized for his fast response and overall judgment following the case.
Officer Valdes states, “I became a police officer primarily because it is a line of work that provides me with the opportunity to make a real difference to the people within the community and I believe the City of Miami PD is one of the finest police departments in the country, mostly because of its professionalism and devotion to serve the public.
Officer Valdes has received numerous awards for his courage, decision making skills, and devotion to his community including twice having been recognized the Dade County Chiefs of Police Association and twice named the City of Miami Police Department’s Officer of the Month. He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and the Miami Police Benevolent Association.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.