Friday, January 16, 2015

After seven months on the job, Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates appears to be a little bit dazed and a whole lot confused

Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates needs help. 

Last April, when Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine announced that Aurora, CO Police Chief Dan Oates had been selected to be Miami Beach's next top cop, he cited Oates' "tremendous leadership qualities,"

Levine, and City Manager Jimmy Morales were convinced they'd found a lawman who was the modern day version of J. Edgar Hoover and Eliot Ness - a no-nonsense cop who would shake things up and provide some sorely-needed leadership for the city's troubled police department.

Now, after just seven months on the job, some within the department are comparing Oates to Barney Fife, instead of Hoover or Ness, and openly questioning whether he was the right choice to lead the  department.

Critics question Oates' fitness, and point to his lack of leadership and flawed judgment in his seven months as head of a department that's had more than its share of problems.

In less than a year, Oates has become the talk of the department following a series of ongoing gaffes that have inspired more than a few derisive posts on a message board frequented by Miami Beach cops.

Oates' latest "leadership malfunction" occurred two days ago when he was forced to admit in an email sent out to his department that he had no idea that part of the training process for officers who carry Tasers is that they experience first-hand, the effects of the device.


Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015   7:24 AM
To: Police Department
Subject: Taser Training

Dear Colleagues,

I learned this morning that our Department has a long-standing practice that before any member can qualify to carry a Taser on patrol, he/she must first be shocked by the weapon in training. I don’t agree with this rule. I have been shocked by the Taser, and it is extremely unpleasant. I don’t believe an officer needs to go through that experience in order to be well trained in how to use the weapon. I have instructed Lt. London to discontinue this practice. Of course, anyone in first-time Taser training who still wishes to volunteer to experience the Taser can do so. For your information.

Chief Oates Daniel J. Oates, Chief of Police
1100 Washington Avenue,
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tel: 305.673.7925 / Fax: 305.673.7065 /

We are committed to providing excellent public service and safety to all who live, work and play in our vibrant, tropical, historic community.


"I don’t believe an officer needs to go through that experience in order to be well trained in how to use the weapon," Oates wrote in his email. "I have instructed Lt. London to discontinue this practice. "

Sources tell me Oates sent out the email Wednesday morning within minutes of learning that Taser training required Miami Beach officers to be tased themselves.

"He made this change arbitrarily and without consulting with anyone," a city hall source tells me. "He didn't even bother to check with the city manager or the city's legal department. It's a very bizarre move on his part given the fact that the department is being sued over the use of the Taser. What was this guy thinking?"

Other incidents involving Oates that have tongues wagging at 1100 Washington Ave. are:

  • Shortly after Oates took over last year, he was issued an unmarked Ford Explorer. But in just seven months on the job, Oates has managed to destroy five tires, two wheel rims and the Explorer's exhaust system.

    How did Chief Oates manage to do this much damage?

    It was easy.

    Oates, despite decades as a cop, has still not learned how to figure out the intricacies of the modern urban parking garage.

    Seems he has some sort of problem when it comes to avoiding the elevated divider that separates the up and down ramps in the Miami Beach Police Department's parking garage.

    A few months ago, someone placed an orange cone at the entrance to the garage as a visual aid to help Oates prevent further mishaps.

    On a related note, Oates also uses his city-issued Explorer to travel back and forth to his home in Orlando every weekend. Yes, the man who has trouble pulling into a garage without doing hundreds of dollars worth of damage to his city vehicle, uses that same vehicle to drive to Orlando every weekend.

    A source tells me that Oates' wife, after visiting South Beach, hated it so much that Oates bought a house in Orlando ... despite the fact that his employment agreement with the city states "his principal residence shall be in the City of Miami Beach."

    In just seven months, Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates has managed to destroy five tires, two wheel rims and the exhaust system on his city-issued Ford Explorer....all while trying to pull into the parking garage at the Miami Beach Police Department. 

  • Last year, after a month or so after Oates took assumed command, his daughter visited the Fontainebleau Spa. Sources tell me that Oates gave her his credit card to use. When the 18-year-old receptionist at the spa told her she couldn't use someone else's credit card, Oates' daughter responded by saying, "It's okay, it's my dad's credit card, and he's the new police chief."

    When the receptionist refused to budge, Oates' daughter called her daddy and put the receptionist on the phone, whereupon Oates let loose with a string of profanities along the lines of "I'm in a meeting and don't have time for this sh*t. Just let her use my card."

    Word of Oates' meltdown spread quickly within the department after the receptionist told her dad...who is a retired Miami Beach cop.

  • Last July, after just one month on the job, Oates announced that Miami Beach cops would no longer be allowed to work off-duty jobs at Miami Beach nightclubs. Oates instituted the policy shift following the suspension the day before of a decorated cop for allegedly drinking while working an off-duty job at an Ocean Drive club.

    Six weeks later, Oates reversed himself. Officers would now be allowed to work off-duty jobs. But the off-duty rules had been changed to such an extent that the department is now having trouble finding officers who want to work the jobs.

  • But it's Oates' latest gaffe that has the boys and girls at 1100 Washington Ave. snickering and talking amongst each other about the chief's mental state.

    Since he took over, Oates has mandated that all officers wear a police baseball cap as part of their uniform on holidays and other special occasions.

    Last New Year's Eve, according to numerous sources, Oates was driving his Ford Explorer on Washington Avenue when he spotted a uniformed city employee who wasn't wearing a ball cap.

    Believing he'd nabbed one of his officers out of uniform, I'm told that Oates rolled down his window and proceeded to berate the employee for not wearing the ball cap. But had Oates looked a little closer he might have noticed that the employee was a parking enforcement officer and not a cop.

    "You stupid f**k," one commenter wrote on the Miami Beach Police Department message board, "Did you not notice the fact that he has no f**king GUN? [Y]ou noticed no police baseball cap, but you did not notice the parking uniform with parking patches and a f**king parking electronic ticket machine."

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