CMDR Cooper joined the police department in 1982, and joined the homicide department in 1988. She also supervised Domestic Violence, Sexual Battery, and Internal Affairs during this time. A native of Miami, Cooper loves being a homicide detective. "The thrill of getting the bad guy and being able to put him or her away" is what drives Cooper to work as hard as she does.
Lieutenant John W. Buhrmaster has been with the Miami Police Department for over 33 years. He has been with the homicide dept. for more than 20 years and has been lieutenant of the homicide unit since 2003. "This job is one of the most challenging and gratifying jobs I've ever had," he says. "It pushes us in every sense of the word. It thickens your skin real quick. It strengthens your heart and feeds your mind. We're constantly pushing the limits. Here, there's no such thing as being off the clock." Lieutenant John W. Buhrmaster is married with one daughter and a step-son. He dedicates most of his free time to his family and keeps pictures of them all over his office. He also loves to travel.
Joe Schillaci, 45, is a 21-year veteran of the Miami Police Department and has been a sergeant for over 10 years and a homicide investigator for 5 years. Before coming to homicide, Schillaci worked as an undercover narcotics cop for 16 years, an experience that has given him an edge as a homicide investigator. "My whole career [as an undercover cop] was structured around the mechanical, being fine tuned on the street. ... Being in investigations, you have to use your brain, your heart, and everything you are made of to be successful."
When asked what is the secret ingredient to making a good homicide detective, Schillaci responds, "You have to have a passion for life and for this job because the enormous responsibility when you take on these investigations. ... If you do not have a profound respect and passion for life, you will not be as successful at this job as you could be."
Joe Schilllaci has been promoted to Lt. and currently working in Community Relations.
Schillaci is a proud family man. He is happily married to his wife and loves his three children.
Sgt. Armando Aguilar joined the police force very early in life. Perhaps even a little too early. He explains, I started my career when I was 18 years old as a police dispatcher. I then became a police officer when I was 20 years old. In fact, my dad had to buy my first gun for me because I was not old enough to buy it. At twenty-seven years old, he is the youngest detective in the Homicide Unit.
Aguilar comes from a family history rich in law enforcement. He says, I made the decision to become a police office when I was about two years old and wanted to be just like my father, who is a sergeant with the Miami Police Department, and my grandfather, who was a police officer in Cuba during the 1950s.
Aguilar describes being a homicide detective as, By far the toughest and most rewarding assignment I've ever held as a police officer.
He has recently been promoted to sergeant.
As a 27-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, Sergeant Carlos De Los Santos loves his job so much, he came out of retirement four years ago to go back into homicide. De Los Santos explains why, "Being a policeman, a lot of people get into this line of work because they say we make good money ... not true ... you have to want to be a policeman, you have to like it, you have to have it in your blood and I have it in my blood."
De Los Santos feels very lucky that he has a family that understands the demands of life as a homicide detective. "My wife and my family have always been very supportive. She has a little saying 'welcome to homicide'it's a famous saying around here. When you are a homicide detective you're going to get called out when you least expect it."
Sgt. Carlos De Los Santos has retired from the City of Miami Police Department.
A 17-year veteran of Miami Police Department's Homicide Unit, Sergeant Manny De La Torriente has seen it all. "DLT" has a love for his job that borders on the spiritual. Homicide investigations he says, "It's more than just a career move. It's almost like a calling."
Because of his expertise, De La Torriente is an instructor at the police academy and teaches a course on sex crimes and basic criminal investigations. Manny says his desire to teach a younger generation of officers and detectives comes from his own experience as a rookie. "Part of the desire is to leave more of a legacy behind" he says. He wants to provide "the guys who are coming up with some tools to work with that I got the hard way, so they don't have to go through some of the road blocks and hopefully, as a result, a higher percentage of cases will be solved more quickly."
Manny De La Torriente has retired from the City of Miami Police Department.
Sergeant Confesor Gonzalez has been on the Miami police force for 28 years. In addition to having earned the rank of sergeant, Gonzalez is known as a mentor of rookie detectives. He takes the newbies and shows them the ropes, never letting them forget that "experience is your best teacher." Gonzalez is married, and one of his sons is also a Miami Police sergeant assigned to the SWAT and K-9 detail.
A 28- year member of the Miami Police Department and a 12-year veteran of homicide, Sgt. Jose "Pepi" Granado is one of the most seasoned members of the team. A native of Miami, Sgt. Granado's path to the Miami Police Department started with time spent in the Army. "The Army taught me about discipline and hard work. When my duty was over, I wanted to continue on a similar path. Law enforcement was the logical next step for me."
Sgt. Granado plans on retiring in two years. "I feel like I have reached the pinnacle of my career. There is nothing else that I want out of my work life. I have achieved my career goals." When Sgt. Granado retires he will have more time to devote to his many hobbies. In his spare time he practices the drums. "I love hard rock, and playing the drums helps me unwind from work." He is also a huge fan of the New York Jets.
Sgt. Granado is a devoted family man. He has three daughters and another child on the way. He just recently got re-married. "I have a lot to look forward to," he says.
Sergeant Johnny Herrera has been with the Miami PD since November 1990. He spent six years working as a homicide detective, and became a sergeant in 1999. He is especially proud of his work in homicide saying, "We do more with less equipment and technologies." Herrera's primary hobby is boating, and he considers himself adept to sea life. "I'm very aquatic. I can float very well!"
Sergeant Altarr Williams has been on the Miami police force for 20 years. "I do the job because as a homicide detective [because] we are the only ones that can ... speak for the victim. And I love it because I like to right wrongs. I am very passionate about my job. ... It feels great to know you have accomplished your goal. You were able to actually catch the bad guy."
Williams is not only passionate about his job, but his family as well. He is a family man who loves spending as much time as possible with his wife, his son, and his newborn baby daughter.
Det. Orlando Benitez, Jr. joined the Miami Police Department in 2000, after having worked as a corrections officer.
Before joining up with the homicide department in January 2007, Benitez worked in patrol's problem solving team. While there, he worked on preventing all kinds of community problems, from rape to prostitution. He always wanted to join Homicide and says, In police investigations, this is the pinnacle.
Benitez has two children. He adds that in his spare time, I enjoy saltwater fishing, especially fishing for dolphin.
Detective Fernando Bosch has been with the City of Miami Police Department since 1987. He became a detective in 1997 and joined the homicide unit in 2003. At a young age, Bosch knew he wanted to be a police officer. "You never know what you're going to see, how you are going to feel, what you are going to learn. It's the farthest thing from a 9 to 5 job," he says when explaining why he loves his work. "Working homicide is just the ultimate. It is the ultimate investigation."
Bosch is extremely proud of his beautiful daughter and handsome son, "They are my pride and joy." He is happily married to Cristina, who he calls his "Princess."
On the job, Detective Carlos Castellanos always goes the extra mile to solve a case.
He has a reputation for being a bit of a neat freak, which has helped earn him and his partner, Manny Castillo, the nickname the odd couple in the homicide unit.
Castellanos is a former Marine who makes no apologies for his patriotism and is a devout Catholic. He is married and has a dog.
Detective Manny Castillo has been with the Miami Police Department for 22 years and spent the last 3 in homicide. He was on patrol for 15 years and with the domestic violence unit for 3 years before joining homicide. He has a reputation as a jokester. He and his partner, Carlos Castellanos, have been dubbed the MPD's odd couple because of their contrasting personalities. Castillo believes, "Laughter is the purest and most genuine expression of joy. It's not only healthy, but it's priceless."
Manny is married and has five childrenthree boys and two girls.
"It's the best job in the world, but not everyone can do it," says Miami PD Det. Eutimio "TC" Cepero. "There's no better feeling than to be the voice for the victim, to find the suspect, and to bring closure to the family."
Born in Cuba and raised in Boston, Cepero worked Patrol and SVU before joining homicide in 2008. He enjoys the challenge of putting the pieces of the murder together in order to solve the case. He says, "Although there is no sure way to completely disconnect from an investigation, there is an internal switch that every homicide detective must possess that disconnects your family life from the brutality and death witnessed every day."
Cepero is married with four children. When he's not solving homicides he likes to travel, listen to country music, go skiing, and work out. He is studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. "I find that an intense workout works wonders in diffusing a long, difficult day at the office. When all else fails, a good cigar and a tall whiskey, poolside, will also do the trick."
Det. Juan Carlos D'Elia credits his father for inspiring him to join the Miami Police Department. "I always wanted to walk in my father's footsteps," he says. D'Elia's father is a former NYPD homicide detective. "I'm proud to wear the same shield that my father wore and doing the same work he did."
A graduate of Temple University, D'Elia joined the MPD 5 years ago. After working in Patrol and Burglary, D'Elia joined homicide in 2007. "Being around so much death helps me appreciate life so much more," says D'Elia. "I try to detach myself form work on my days off and focus on God and family."
D'Elia is married and has two children, whom he spends most of his free time with. D'Elia has just rekindled his love for fencing, a sport he played in high school and college.
Detective Mario De Los Santos, the nephew of Sergeant Carlos De Los Santos, has been on the Miami Police Department for the past ten years. He has worked in Robbery and the Problem Solving Team and has spent the last ten months in Homicide. He describes his experience by saying, "This job humbles you. As soon as you think you know what's up, your world turns upside down." Detective De Los Santos is married with one child. In his spare time he relaxes on Miami's beautiful beaches and plays sports.
After graduating high school and spending four years in the U.S. military, Sergeant Ervens Ford joined the Miami Police Department as soon as his service was complete. With more than seven years as a homicide detective under his belt, Ford says: "few people are willing to make that kind of commitment. Getting calling at 2, 3 o'clock in the morning, sacrificing family time ... sacrificing personal time. Not ... very many people are willing to do that."
Even with all the sacrifices and middle of the night phone calls Ford states: "I love homicide. ... I got hit by the [homicide] bug."
Detective Rolando Garcia, a veteran of the Miami homicide team, has been in the unit since 1995. Having worked for the City of Miami Police Department since 1983, he's seen a lot. "I was put on this earth to get the bad guys," he says. "It makes me feel good inside to know, for certain, that I'm doing something positive with my life - not everyone can say that."
Garcia is passionate about his job and is very happy he is able to not only have a rewarding career but one that helps his community as well.
Det. Ricardo John started with the Miami Police Department in 1994 and spent nine months in the Homicide Department in 2006. He previously worked Patrol and Burglary. He started working in Assault in 2011.
Det. John understands the responsibility that comes along with his work. He says, "You're not just working for the city of Miami. You're working for the world. Your offender could flee from here and go to other parts of the world. I know my badge says the city of Miami, but ultimately I feel like I work for everyone."
First and foremost, Det. John considers himself a family man and credits his wife for giving him the strength to get through his difficult job. He says receiving an affirming text message from his wife on the morning of his first homicide case meant a great deal to him.
John and his wife have two daughters. "I love my girls. I think they're ultimately why I do my job. I try to keep them safe in the world."
Detective Rick Martinez was born in Cuba but grew up in Miami. He has been with the Miami Police Department for the past 16 years and has spent the past year and a half in Homicide. Before that, he worked in the Gang Unit, Uniform and Community Relations. He says, "I like homicide because of the challenge. It's like a big chess game between you and the bad guy." However, since transferring, Martinez has noted that his spare time has disappeared. "I used to play golf. I used to go fishing and diving, but all those things I used to do when I was in uniform." Detective Martinez is married with three children.
Detective Tony Miguelez is just past the rookie stage on homicide, having been there for three years. Tony has two daughters from his first marriage and just recently got remarried.
A rookie homicide detective for the Miami Police Department, 44-year-old Morin was born in Cuba and grew up in the Bronx and the Little Havana section of Miami.
Morin's road to homicide was a winding one. Her desire for action and excitement took her in many directions. Straight out of college, she became a flight attendant for Pan American World Airways; soon after she changed jobs to become a real estate agent and run her own business. She then changed paths once again to become a teacher in Little Havana. And when she was 39, she finally found her true calling: being a cop. Morin worked the streets as a uniformed officer for three years, then in the robbery unit. A year and a half ago, she made it to homicide. Her friendly nature and dynamic personality adds to her detective skills. She is married to a fireman and has a 16-year-old daughter.
Mayree Morin is currently working for the Homeland Security Department for the City of Miami PD.
Born and raised in Miami, Det. Roderick Passmore joined the Miami Police Department over 20 years ago after studying criminal justice in college. Passmore is known for his dedication to the cases he's assigned to. "I want to be the best homicide investigator I can be," he says. "Failure is never an option."
Passmore worked 14 years in narcotics investigation and spent 4 years as field training officer. He was in burglary before joining homicide in 2008. "In homicide you learn that death is inevitable. It's going to happen no matter what. My strategies are to appreciate life and count my blessings."
Passmore loves to travel and is an avid fan of the Miami Dolphins, the New York Giants, and the Miami Heat.
Detective Freddy Ponce loves being a homicide detective. He has been with the Miami homicide team for the last year and half.
Proud of his heritage, Ponce is a first-generation Venezuelan. He came to the United States in 1972. As a young man he spent four years in the U.S. Navy as a navigator for a guided missile cruiser, The USS Sanjacinto CG-56. "I learned in the navy, if you want to be the best, you have to work with the best ... that's why I joined homicide."
Ponce is married and has two great kids.
A native New Yorker, Detective Anthony Reyes moved to South Florida early in life. He joined the Miami Police Department in 2004. Prior to joining homicide in 2008, he spent his time on the force as a patrolman.
The detective has always had "a passion for the investigative side of law enforcement." It was during his time in the police academy when one training advisor in particular had a lasting effect on him. The advisor was an ex-homicide detective and got Reyes, "hooked on homicide." In his opinion, "dedication to every case" and never assuming anything, are key elements to being a good homicide detective. What gives Reyes pride in his work is being able to give answers and closure to the victim's family.
In order to cope with the stress of homicide, Det. Reyes has learned to disconnect from his work. "If anything, it's taught me to enjoy the little things in life." Outside of work he loves NASCAR, drag racing and coaching his kids' little league baseball team and fishing.
The detective has been married since 1995 to "a great girl" and has two beautiful boys. "My family stands behind me one hundred percent, even when I'm away from them for days at a time working cases. They are definitely my support system."
Jose Rodriguez is a rookie homicide detective for Miami Police Department. Even though he's been in homicide for only 10 months, he's no stranger to law enforcement, having worked in patrol for 15 years. But, as he states, homicide is a whole different ball game. "As a detective you look for all things, quite different from how you approach crime as a patrol officer."
A dedicated family man, Rodriguez is married and has two kids, a 12-year-old and a 6-year-old. He says, "That's what my life revolves around. They mean the world to me, my kids, and my wife."
Jose Rodriguez has been promoted to Sergeant and is currently working in the Communications Unit.
Detective Olga Rome, 46, has been with the City of Miami Police Department for more than 16 years. She's been a homicide detective for the last three years.
Growing up in a very religious household taught Rome about values. "My father's a minister, I have an uncle that's a minister, I have a brother that's a minister so just by growing up in that environment, my values have always been in place, and they haven't changed." However working as a homicide detective has changed her in one important way, "I try to live life to the fullest now. ... Working on this job, you can actually see for yourself that nothing is promised to you, and you can be here today and gone tomorrow."
Rome is a single mother who has raised two beautiful daughters.
At 36, Detective Kevin Ruggiero is one of the youngest members of the Miami Police Department Homicide Unit. Having joined the unit at 27, Detective Ruggiero was a rookie, eager to learn the ropes. His team has made him feel welcome by giving him an appropriate nickname because of his rookie status, "grasshopper." Having worked as a beat cop for the police force for five years and growing up in Miami, Ruggiero knows the streets of the city very well.
A father of a young daughter, Ruggiero is a very proud single father. He loves to ride his motorcycle and spend time with his daughter
Colombian born, Detective Fabio Sanchez is a second-generation police officer for the City of Miami Police Department. He joined the force 12 years ago. Before becoming a homicide detective in 2008 he worked the Economic Crimes Unit investigating fraud cases, the Burglary Unit involving property crimes, and patrol.
Det. Sanchez was "always drawn to police work based on exciting stories" that his family would share. In his opinion, a good homicide detective "is a person that is patient, open minded and relentless in their pursuit for justice of the victims and their family." In that same vein, the detective takes pride in investigating the most difficult cases and bringing closure to victims' families.
As a homicide detective, "you realize real fast how precious life is and how easily it can be taken away... I have learned not to dwell on the bad and focus on the good things in life." Outside of work, Detective Sanchez likes to travel and relax. He loves to watch sports, the home teams in particular and spending "quality time with his family; grilling up steaks on the barbeque." The detective is "married with two beautiful children."
After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Det. Frank Sanchez was determined to join the Miami Police Department. He first worked on patrol, and was later assigned to the Little Haiti Problem Solving Team, which consisted of undercover drug stings and dealing with other community problems.
Sanchez has spent the past two years of his eight-year law enforcement career in the homicide unit, where co-workers describe him as the quiet one. He says, I enjoy standing in the background. My silence means that I am busy analyzing a situation and paying close attention to the fine details.
Sanchez is an avid reader, and especially loves sci-fi and horror. He is a sports fan and a computer whiz. Det. Sanchez is married with two wonderful children.
A 26-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, Detective Orlando Silva has been a member of the homicide team for nine years. "I love being a homicide detective. It's in my blood. I couldn't imagine doing anything else."
When Detective Silva is not working, he can be found off Key Biscayne fishing or lobstering. "It's a great way to unwind. I love being out in the ocean." Detective Silva is married and has one son.
As a veteran homicide detective for the City of Miami Police Department, Tamayo joined homicide in 1998 and has years of investigation experience under his belt. He states: "As a veteran homicide investigator as opposed to a rookie investigator, the biggest difference is that you've been lied to by the best." This type of expert knowledge makes Tamayo a valuable detective on any homicide scene. His many years in the department has also given him a view on the world only seen through the eye of a homicide detective: "As a senior homicide detective, no, you haven't seen it all before, because just when you think you've seen it all something pops up and just humbles you."
Tamayo has been married since 1976. He has three children, two girls and a boy, who are now adults. Recently he's become a grandfather. "It's probably the greatest thrill of my life other than becoming an actual father myself."
Born in Hoboken and raised in Miami, Detective Leo Tapanes has spent the past 13 years in the Miami Police Department. He has worked Patrol, Robbery, Narcotics and now Homicide. Tapanes describes himself as, "Wild, sarcastic, quick witted and just living every day as if it were my last." A University of Miami graduate, Tapanes is an avid reader. His favorite authors are Tom Clancy, James Patterson and Jack Higgins. His other hobbies include scuba diving, snowboarding, and motorcycle racing. He is married with two children.