By Wallace Clark
Only Kahn should be chief
Current Miami Springs Police Chief Pete Baan will retire at the end of this year and the next chief should be, without a doubt, Captain Jon Kahn. The 36-year veteran came up
through the ranks, serving as an undercover detective whose life was in danger more than
all other officers combined. He was also a K-9 sergeant, lieutenant and is now captain/
assistant chief and acting chief when Chief Baan is out of town.
Earlier this year, Baan recommended to city management that Kahn be his replacement.
In an April 30 memo to City Manager Ron Gorland, Kahn said he would be willing to
serve as chief; however, he didnt want to apply for the position. Meaning, he didnt want
to go through the process. And he shouldnt have to.
Kahn is set to retire a year after Baan, but the captains desire to be chief was
unquestionably clear. Nevertheless, Gorland sent a July 23 memo to council members
mentioning, in part: …John Kahns subsequent letter opting out of consideration…
Thats blatantly untrue.
Politics seem to be playing a major part in the selection of the next chief and new
requirements have been added to the application. The one that rankles many officers is
Bilingual English/Spanish preferred. That would take Kahn out of consideration and
eliminate everyone else in the current command staff lieutenants and higher.
Note: About half of the current officers have Hispanic surnames and at least two non-
Hispanic officers speak fluent Spanish, as well as several civilian employees. Theres no
shortage of Spanish speakers in the police department.
Contrary to public opinion, the police department is not autonomous. The final say goes
to the city manager. When Lt. Steve Carlisle retired last December, his position was
eliminated by Gorland, despite objections from Baan.
Eliminating a lieutenants position meant that none of the four sergeants could move
up in rank, no patrol officer would be promoted to sergeant and no Public Service Aide
would be sent to the police academy. (The eligible PSA was hired by Miami-Dade
More than 40 people have applied to be Miami Springs Police Chief and since Gorland
told Kahn in person that he isnt being considered for chief, its obvious that the new
chief will come from somewhere else.
In a highly questionable and disrespectful move, Chief Baan, who has lived in Miami
Springs his entire life, wasnt included in the hiring process.
While the new hire will obey orders from management, Baan and Kahn are longtime
cops and dedicated to their officers. However, they sometimes question management
and Gorland doesnt like that. Most likely, a new chief wont know anyone under his
command and will be unquestionably obedient and loyal to the people that got him or her
(highly unlikely) the job.
The new chief will undoubtedly bring in some of his own people, pushing current officers
further down the line. That will send a message to the rank-and-file that no matter how
long or how well you do your job, it doesnt mean you will be promoted or become chief.
Rumors are rampant that one elected official has talked to a high-ranking bilingual police
officer from another agency and encouraged him to apply for the job. Not illegal, but
questionable and unethical.
One of city managements objections to Kahn is his upcoming retirement, which has
nothing to do with his ability to do the job of chief for a year. Kahn also doesnt have all
the college requirements that are on the current application; however, they can be waived.
Another option is to name Kahn acting chief or interim chief for his last year. It would be
ludicrous to say he cant do the job or that hiring a new chief is crucial and immediate.
When all the forms are filled out and interviews completed, choosing a new chief comes
down to one person: City Manager Gorland. He can name the newest rookie, if qualified,
to be chief.
Whats amazing but not surprising is that none of the council members have objected to
Kahn being passed over for chief. No matter that elected officials have one vote each, not
one opposes Gorland on this issue and its obvious at council meetings that Gorland and
Garcia run the show.
Council members should question why Kahn is not being considered for chief and why
Gorland told the council that Kahn opted out. Kahn asked for the job and he deserves it
more than anyone.
Opinion of Wallace Clark without input or approval from Baan or Kahn.