John Mina: Wrong Chief for These Changing Times

Dyer Mina Rooneyby Katrina Waters, Ph.D.
This past February, Mayor Buddy Dyer appointed John Mina, 45, as the new chief of police replacing Paul Rooney. Dyer appointed Rooney to the top job just three years ago. Now he has pushed Rooney out for Mina. The official story is that Rooney, who is only 49, is leaving to take a job as head of security for Valencia College. Valencia College! Really?

What this really means is that Mina is Dyer's new boy. He owns Mina and Mina's department. Mina, at the salary of $150,000, serves as Mayor Dyer's chief counsel on public safety.

With 23 years on the force, Mina has been SWAT for 17 of those years and served as SWAT commander. A SWAT officer is not exactly officer friendly. These are the guys with orders to kill. They are a

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necessary force, but not the force from which a police chief is made.

Mina explains that he always wanted to be a police officer. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, he fell in love with the Orlando police department for recruiting him right out of the army. He was 82nd Airborne. "There is no other profession like this job," Mina boasts. "Everyday you strap on a bulletproof vest and a gun to protect yourself from the evil that is out there."

This is the man and this is the mindset that now leads the Orlando police department. This is Buddy Dyer's choice.

In the wake of Ferguson, Missouri, this kind of mindset is being denounced. Experts are now coming forward and explaining how inappropriate a military mindset can be in an urban police department. Mina's kind of mindset is both dangerous and contrary to good policing.

The media is over-run with the realization that America's police departments are militarized forces mainly out of touch with urban areas. This is code for white dominated police forces averse to black communities. Even small police forces are armed to the hilt. 9/11 is the excuse, armament is the profit, and gung ho chiefs like Mina love it. While young black men endure the brunt of it.

Every time Airborne Mina opens his mouth, it is easy to hear that he views policing in terms of good against bad. He sees the world in black and white, them versus us and the great evil lurking in the dark. His mind numbing quotes are numerous and hair curling.


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There is absolutely no grey matter in Mina's world. He is like the little boy that grew up playing cops and robbers, joined the military to play with real guns and then became the top cop who says unprofessional things like, "We will hunt them down", as if he is in a Clint Eastwood western.

John Mina is clearly the wrong man for these changing times. The Zeitgeist cries for a chief who can differentiate between the various shades of grey. Policing is not all about locking people up. Good Policing is mainly preventive service and protection. A crime correlates with a victim. Prevention correlates with a safe neighborhood. There is a huge difference. And prevention does not come at the end of a barrel. It comes with intelligent neighborly communications.

With our heavily armed police department, we do not need a SWAT commander at the helm. People do what they know. This is why the Orlando SWAT team swarmed the residents of Parramore who were celebrating the lives of their deceased love ones.

This is why the bicycle squad felt comfortable surrounding a drunken man and firing nine bullets at him. And this is why a young girl is dead.

And Mayor Dyer said what about this killing? Nothing!

It is time that our city leaders take police misdeeds seriously. Change or be changed. A marvelous new militancy is brewing. They don't throw rocks. They cast votes.

Watching the funeral of Michael Brown, I could hear Marvin Gaye singing,

"Mother, mother
there's too many of you crying.
Brother, brother, brother
there's far too many of you dying.
You know we've got to find a way
to bring some loving here today.
Picket lines and picket signs.
Don't punish me with brutality.
Talk to me
so you can see.
what's going on."

Obviously Mina doesn't know what's going on. The question is: do our city leaders know?


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