Chief Leonard Burgess has dedicated 30 years of service in law enforcement, and was appointed Chief of Police on June 8, 2014. His acquired experience has allowed him to gain expertise in community policing, fiscal management and strategic planning skills in the various leadership roles he has held within the field. He joined the North Miami Police Department (NMPD) in September 1984 and lateral over to the Miami-Dade Police Department in October 1988. He was rehired in October 2010 as a Police Major, and was subsequently appointed to Assistant Chief of the Field Operations Division in December 2011, and then appointed as the Interim Chief of Police in February 2014. On June 21, 2014, he was promoted to Chief of Police. He is committed to mentoring and educating children and has an immense loyalty and passion for professionalism and public safety. He is married and has three children and a grandson.
Chief Burgess was an Assistant Chief of the Field Operations Division for the NMPD, Chief Burgess oversaw the following: Uniform Patrol, Uniform Support, Community Services Sections, Community Oriented Policing and PAL Programs, Motorcycle Traffic Unit, Marine Patrol Unit, SWAT, School Resource Officers, Peer Tutoring and Police Explorer Programs, Communication Unit, and the Code Compliance Unit. NMPD is the sixth largest police department in Miami-Dade County, with 168 employees servicing a population of approximately 65,000, with an annual operating budget of approximately $24.1 million.
From October 2008 until October 2010, Chief Burgess served as the Interim Director and then as a Deputy Director for the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (MDCRD), which is the sixth largest jail system in the United States, with over 2,500 employees. MDCRD’s annual operating budget is approximately $326 million.
Chief Burgess was employed by the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) from November 1988 until October 2008, where he last held the rank of Division Chief of the Special Investigations Division (SID). The SID is comprised of the Warrants, Narcotics, Economic Crimes, Strategic and Specialized Investigative Bureaus and the Multi-Agency Gang Task Force. MDPD is the largest law enforcement agency in the Southeastern United States, providing police services to over 2.4 million people, with an annual operating budget of approximately $535 million.
Chief Burgess holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Sciences from Barry University and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Florida International University. He has honorably served in the United States Marine Corps, and is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Command Officers Course at the University of Louisville, and of the Senior Management Institute for Police Executives at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Chief Burgess served as President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) South Florida Chapter. His professional affiliations also include the 5000 Role Models, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police, Progressive Officers Club, Knights of Columbus, Hispanic Police Officers Association, and the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.