Rank And File Retirements

Special Feature

Rank And File


Chief René G. Landa
Officer Rodney Napier

Chief René G. Landa and Officer Rodney Napier, two of the City of South Miami Police Department’s finest, are retiring from the force. Chief Landa after a long and distinguished career and Officer Napier as a new recruit to SMPD devoted to serving as the Community Affairs officer from 2018 to 2023.

Chief René G. Landa 

“What a great way to retire! It is exciting for me to wish him well in his next chapter,” said South Miami City Manager, Genaro, “Chip” Iglesias said of Chief Landa’s retirement.

Chief Landa’s experience in law enforcement took place during some of Miami’s most high-profile and chaotic events when he was with the City of Miami, beginning in 1980. 

“Those were some days in Miami–Cocaine Cowboys, Mariel boatlift, and a lot of civil unrest,” he said. 

Miami was once at the center of a number of events that garnered the attention of the entire country. Drugs were rampant as any episode of the old television show “Miami Vice” could tell you. Miami was awash with drugs, murders, and fear. The Medellin Cartel made monthly shipments of 70 to 80 tons of cocaine into the US from Colombia. In 1981 Miami was responsible for trafficking 70 percent of the country’s cocaine and marijuana, earning it the “Drug Capital of the World” title with “Cocaine Cowboys” running the operation on the streets of what was 

Special Feature

 then called Dade County.  In 1980 the Haitian migration and the Cuban migration (Mariel boatlift) served to strain the social/governmental network needed to process and house 125,000 Cuban migrants and 25,000 Haitian migrants. More civil unrest was prompted by the murder of Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance salesman at the hands of six Dade County Public Safety officers who were acquitted at trial. Riots took place in Overtown, Brownsville, and Liberty City occasioning the 

Receiving the coveted state police accreditation at a Jacksonville, Florida ceremony are (L-R): Off. Napier, City Manager Genaro “Chip” Iglesias, Mayor Javier Fernandez, Chief Landa, Capt. Larry Corbin and SMPD Communications Manager Lisa Corbin

Chief Landa speaks at the “Blue Mass” at the annual St. Michael’s Day Celebration. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of law enforcement
Chief Landa with state Atty Gen. Ashley Moodey at the “Back the Blue Award’ event in recognition of the Florida Assoc. of Crime Stoppers

governor’s calling up of the National Guard in an attempt to maintain order. Three days of rioting saw 18 people killed, 370 injured, 787 arrests and property destruction exceeding $100 million. 

René G. Landa joined the SMPD in 2010 and was tapped for the position of Acting Chief in 2013. He was promoted to Chief and later sworn in on March 7, 2014. “My wife Maritza was the first to pin my badge on me, and today it’s going to be my granddaughter,” Chief Landa said at the swearing-in. The Chief’s baby granddaughter, Brianna, a young baby, “pinned” his badge on him, with some help from her father (Dr. René Landa) and grandmother.  

René Landa’s passion for law enforcement has been in his blood since he was a college junior and rode along with the police as part of his Criminal Justice studies.

Special Feature

“I was going to become an attorney, but after that one ride with Officer Delgado, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Landa.

A police officer for 43 years, Chief Landa’s leadership abilities are a result of his continued educational training and on-the-job experience in the field. His education includes a master’s degree from Florida International University; leadership classes at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and FIU; and training with the F.B.I. at Quantico, Virginia.

Chief Landa believes in effective and efficient law enforcement achieved by maintaining public safety and providing excellent service to the community.

“The goal of law enforcement is finally to be a person who helps others.
I expect that our officers will treat the public with the sincerest respect and the utmost professionalism,” said Landa. 

Post-retirement plans include traveling and his continued work with the organization Boulder Crest and the Officer Wellness program, and his membership in the Miami-Dace County Association of Chiefs of Police. The Chief is keenly interested in and passionate about the Officer

Chief always enjoys time spend with the neighborhood children

Wellness program and believes that the emotional needs of law enforcement officers and first responders require more attention from the public and solutions for those suffering from the rigors of the profession. He will continue to work with SMPD officers on this program.

Special Feature

Officer Rodney Napier

Officer Rodney Napier

Officer Rodney Napier served as South Miami’s Community Affairs officer. His career with SMPD began in February 2018. Chief Landa was the keynote speaker at Napier’s graduation from the Police Academy. Impressed by the cadet’s achievements, the Chief invited him to consider joining the SMPD on graduation day. Napier earned the top honors in academics, physical agility, and the coveted Director’s Award. This he accomplished at the age of 55. 

Officer Napier hails from Ohio where he owned a very successful capital holdings company, that began with two employees and now has 1300. He still owns the company. Asked what prompted him to

Officer Napier working with the homeless in the community
Officer Napier community services photos by Douglas Higginbotham

become a police officer late in life, his comment was that like many 10-year-old boys, he had respect for the police and what they do.

Community Affairs is exactly what Ofc. Napier wanted to do. As a police officer, he took what he learned about dispute resolution in his business and applied it directly to the South Miami community. In his capacity with the SMPD, Napier was able to make a difference in the daily life of the community and its people. He was there to ensure the safety and welfare of all residents, including the vulnerable, elderly, homeless, those with mental health crises, addiction, or someone whose luck had just run out. His ability

Special Feature

to resolve issues with South Miami business owners and work with local service providers and hospitals has done much to assist those in need who need it the most. 

“The synergy Chief Landa and I have developed over the past years has blossomed because of his genuine care and concern for others, resulting 

At a recent city commission meeting, Officer Napier’s service to the community and his retirement was recognized with a presentation. Pictured are: Chief Landa, city commissioners Steve Calle and Brian Corey, Napier’s husband Kyle Hyatt, Napier, Mayor Javier Fernandez and Vice Mayor Lisa Bonich

in what I envision will be a lifelong friendship,” wrote Ofc. Napier.

Rodney Napier will remain in his home in Miami Beach where he lives with his husband Kyle Hyett, a business owner (Habitat Hyett) on Lincoln Road.   He will return to managing his Ohio business. Ofc. Napier has three adult children from his first marriage and a brand-new grandson. 

“It’s been an honor to be a part of this community and I plan to stay on as a reserve police officer to SMPD,” he said.

As a farewell, he wrote to Chef Landa, “Eagles are meant to soar and Chief Landa’s passion has never waned even after 43 years. And now, that Eagle will be set free to achieve greatness again as he marches on with the Officer Wellness Program. With that, I cannot stress enough what a brilliant law enforcement leader and role model Chief Landa has been for me during my service with the South Miami Police Department. My time here will remain one of the most memorable beacons of my life.”

Article by Donna Shelley

Special Feature

About Author

Leave A Reply