Get to know Michele Miuccio, Boca Raton’s new(ish) chief of police
In late 2019, Boca Raton’s police chief of more than 13 years, Dan Alexander, left the city to take a position with the Palm Beach County School District. His departure marked the end of a tenure of stability following a rocky stretch for the department, but luckily, his successor was waiting in the wings.
Michele Miuccio, who had served as assistant chief for years under Alexander, stepped into the role in an interim capacity before being named the permanent chief in April 2020. She spoke with Boca magazine to discuss her love for the job, the state of the city’s police department, and enforcing the law during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What inspired you to get into law enforcement?
This may sound strange, but it’s like a calling. It’s almost like you wake up one day and you say ‘you know what? this is what I want to be, this is what I want to do, I want to help people, I want to enforce the law.’ It’s more of a calling than an inspiration.
What’s one thing that people should know about you?
I’ve been in law enforcement for 36 years. I love this job, I love this department, and I love all the people here.
What’s the biggest difference between being assistant chief and being chief of police?
The buck stops here now. You’re the one who, when you make a decision, you’re responsible. It’s also nice that Chief Alexander kept me in the loop on everything, so there isn’t much that I didn’t know that he was doing or that I participated in. It’s just that the difference is the responsibility.
Chief Alexander left the city to work for the county school district. Do you have any career aspirations beyond your current post?
I’ve been here for 32 years. This is my home, I grew up in this agency, this is my family. … Between the people here, our community and our leadership, I can’t imagine going anywhere else.
What’s your biggest concern in the city right now?
Like everyone else in this country, it’s COVID. The big concern is recovering from this pandemic. It’s impacting how we’re policing, and the future is uncertain. We’re focusing on keeping the officers safe, keeping the community safe, and just having everyone care about each other.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Boca PD?
There are a couple things that it’s changed, and there are a couple of things that are the same as always. If you call in now, you’re going to be asked questions about COVID—if you’ve been exposed, things like that. If you see our officers out there, they’re going to be masked, and they’re going to be socially distanced. If somebody calls the police in a non-emergency situation, they may be asked to step outside to speak to the officer, and that’s for their safety and ours. Having said all that, we’re still here and we’ve been here 24/7. We’re still out patrolling, we’re still out protecting people. It’s just that we look a little bit different now.
How has law enforcement changed over the course of your career?
Law enforcement is an ever-changing profession. A lot of laws have changed since I started, in different ways we do things, our tactics, equipment, technology. So much has changed, and for the better—to keep us safer, and to keep the public safer.
What would you say to someone considering a career in law enforcement?
If this is your calling, if this is what you want to do, come on in and join the big law enforcement family. It’s one of the best jobs you’ll ever do. It’s so rewarding in so many ways, especially when you’re out there and you’re making an impact.
What encourages you the most about young officers who are new to the department?
Their passion. Their passion to want to get into this profession at a time when a lot of people may not have chosen law enforcement. I always say that law enforcement usually chooses you, and their passion and their dedication to the mission of protecting and serving our community, that’s what really makes me happy.
What’s your proudest moment in uniform?
It sounds so cliche, but every day I put the uniform on, I’m proud. I’m proud every time I see one of our officers helping someone or receiving a commendation. But I think my proudest moment was the day my father pinned my first badge on my uniform and I became a police officer.