MIAMI — The images of unrest and protest are familiar to a South Florida law enforcement official.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 spoke Monday with the former police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, to get his thoughts on recent protests and violence in cities across the U.S.
"My history in Miami, my history has been actually a unique perspective because I grew up in a neighborhood where we had civil unrest in the 1980s," said Florida International University Capt. Delrish Moss.
Moss was a former Miami police officer who went on to become chief in Ferguson after the violence in 2014. He said he took over a department in turmoil in a community that had lost trust with police. His job was one of rebuilding.
"One of the things I thought to do in Ferguson was come up with policies that actually addressed that, because a lot of that has to come down from the top, sending a message and creating an environment for officers to report misconduct," said Moss.
It was something he learned as an officer in Miami a decade earlier.
Now, he says the nationwide response of protesters reacting after the death of George Floyd is something new, and a message he said that police need to respond to.
"Relationships are critical. When I got to Ferguson, there was a whole side of Ferguson when I talked to police officers they were, chief we don’t go over there, so the first day I’m out and I’m walking and knocking on doors in Ferguson and saying, ‘Hey, I’m the new guy in town. I’m your police chief, and I came to talk to you about what we can do to improve.’ A lot were surprised, but they welcomed that surprise."
For Moss it was a path to peace.