Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione removed from position, interim chief named

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione has been removed from his position as the head of the department.

There was no one specific reason for the change according to the city manager.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said, “I made a decision earlier today to change the department leadership. Make no mistake, we’ve had events occur in our police department in the last month. But I can tell you there’s not been one event that’s been the decision-making event.”

Video of protesters being struck by rubber bullets and an officer shoving a kneeling woman to the ground is what led to the decision, according to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.

Trantalis said, “Recent events, both nationally and locally, demonstrate the need of the city commission and the city administration to take swift action to generate public confidence. We must undertake a thorough review of the operations of the police department, including leadership, training, recruitment and policies. We want to ensure the culture of law enforcement in which all people are treated equally, fairly and with full transparency.”

Latoya Ratlieff, who was hit in the face with a rubber bullet during a protest, said, “I think his response, didn’t kind of fit with the movement and fit with what we’re speaking to in regards to being accountable.”

Karen Dietrich will serve as the interim chief for the time being. She was formally a major with the department before becoming an assistant to the police chief.

Dietrich said, “I am humbled and honored to be able to take on leading this agency. This agency has some of the finest men and women around in law enforcement.”

Trantalis said, “This is a time when we need a fresh approach and a fresh set of eyes as to how we address critical issues particularly surrounding the issues of race and law enforcement.”

Maglione will stay on with the department and will be able to return to work in the highest capacity he held before taking over as chief.

He served as the police chief since 2016, when he served as the interim chief before officially taking on the job in 2017. The search for a new chief begins immediately.

Maglione has been with the department since 1992.

The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents Maglione, has not responded to a request for comment.

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