Miami Beach police just got a new Rolls Royce

Miami Beach police just got a new Rolls Royce

MIAMI — Miami Beach police caused a stir Thursday when they unveiled their latest recruitment tool: a Rolls Royce tricked out to look like one of the department’s cop cars.

In a social media post, the department said the ultra-luxury car was part of Braman Motors’ fleet and that the dealership had “sponsored all costs associated with this project.”

But that didn’t stop people from raising questions. “I don’t think this is a good look for the police department,” one Instagram commenter wrote. “This is where all the money goes to, huh,” wrote another.

The department’s public information officer, Christopher Bess, told the Miami Herald taxpayers haven’t covered any costs related to the vehicle — and that, because it is part of Braman’s fleet, the dealership will pay for maintenance. The car is on loan to the department and will be returned, he said.

Miami Beach could potentially be on the hook, however, if the car is damaged while under the police department’s care. Bess said the city drafted a certificate of insurance for the vehicle.

“We have not absorbed any cost for this vehicle,” Bess said. “Miami Beach taxpayers didn’t pay anything for this.”

On Thursday afternoon, the department held a media event at its South Beach headquarters to unveil the car, a 2012 Rolls Royce Ghost — originally priced at $250,000.

In a statement, Police Chief Wayne Jones said the vehicle “represents our commitment to innovation and our dedication to recruiting the best and brightest individuals to serve our community.”

Braman Motors’ chief operating officer, Alex Shack, said in a statement that the partnership “showcases the innovative spirit and community engagement that drives us at Braman Motors.”

The owner of Braman Motorcars, Miami billionaire Norman Braman, has been an influential figure in Miami Beach, in recent years donating an art sculpture, sponsoring a new cancer center at Mount Sinai Medical Center and fighting legislation that could bring a casino to the Fontainebleau Resort.

It wasn’t clear exactly how the Rolls Royce would be utilized to help attract new officers.

But the move attracted immediate attention, including in a post from popular social media account OnlyInDade, which declared: “Only In Dade do the police have a Rolls Royce’s [sic] for promotional purposes.”

Bess, the police spokesman, said the “traditional methods of recruitment” are “no longer sufficient in addressing the diverse needs and aspirations of the next generation of law enforcement professionals.”

“By embracing innovation and creativity, we can attract individuals who embody the values of integrity, service, and excellence that are central to our profession,” he said.

Miami Beach police have taken several reputational hits in recent years, including in 2021 when five officers were criminally charged in the beating of a Black tourist. The department was praised after this year’s spring break season in March, which was more peaceful than it had been in recent years.

By AARON LEIBOWITZ/Miami Herald

Aaron Leibowitz covers the city of Miami Beach for the Miami Herald, where he has worked as a local government reporter since 2019. He was part of a team that won a 2022 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside. He is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School’s Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

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