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Once again Black women are making history after Harvette Smith was sworn in as Police Chief of North Miami Beach.

Chief Smith had been serving as interim chief since March, but was sworn in as the official chief on July 7. Smith was the first Black woman, as well as first Black person, to lead the North Miami Beach Police Department (NMBPD) as interim chief. 

“It’s breaking a lot of barriers, the sky’s the limit. This job she has right now is normally taken on by a male and she’s the first African American female for North Miami Beach.” Smith’s Sister, Marlow Sears-Descally said.

Smith began her law enforcement career on February 26, 1990 as a Clerk Typist with the NMBPD. “I started at 19 years old, a secretary, just typing up policies and procedures, I went on and became a police officer and moved up the ranks from sergeant to captain, and here I am, I’m now the chief,” Smith said.

(WSVN) – A Black woman made history after she was sworn in as the North Miami Beach Police chief.
(WSVN) – A Black woman made history after she was sworn in as the North Miami Beach Police chief.

North Miami Beach has a new chief

North Miami Beach is a city of about 43,676 residents in Miami-Dade County. As the police chief, Smith oversees more than 165 law enforcement officers and support professionals.

Smith replaces former Chief Richard Rand, who announced his retirement in early March.

Smith did an interview with CBS4 after being sworn in in which reporter Ted Scouten asked:

 “You are the first African American to hold this post in North Miami Beach. What does that mean?”

“To me that means that it opens the doors for so many young girls today, to let them know that the sky’s the limit. You can do anything you want to do,” Smith replied.

After the ceremony, Smith was already planning for the future. “The first thing I want to do is develop community partnership. I want to bring in stakeholders and know what their ideas are. Next thing I want to get to my command staff, we need to make some changes in the agency and start doing more impactful things in fighting crime in the city of North Miami Beach,” Smith said.

Kesean Cleveland is an an intern at The Black Wall Street Times. He is a student at Langston University and was born and raised in Oklahoma City. Some of his favorite things include video games, his dog...