Great Mentors Create Great Leaders: Hallandale Beach Is On A Positive Track Because of Astute Leadership

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

June 9, 2022

During our June 1st Meeting we had the Chamber full of guests for the swearing in of our new Chief of Police, Chief Michel Michel and other guests from South Florida and Israel. I will not be going into detail about Chief Michel since our lead editor is covering the story. I do need to share that as Mayor, I am thrilled that we have begun this new chapter in the City Of Hallandale Beach’s Police Department.

I have known and watched Chief Michel over the past 18 years. We joke that we grew up together in Hallandale Beach. Much of his training was under the leadership of Chief Tom McGill who was the epitome of Community Policing. The fact that Chief Michel learned from him and understands the impact of knowing and more importantly understanding our community is priceless.

Over the past two years plus, we regretfully have been what seems like, we are under siege with shootings and crime. When I came back on the Dais, I was shocked that we had become so weak on Crime Fighting. The messaging or lack of unified messaging from the Dais had adversely impacted our Department and more importantly in my opinion created a sense of lawlessness. Please do not read into this as being against what I call “Boots On The Ground,” but why leadership is so important!

Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub ran on a platform to Fight Crime after being a victim of it herself in the Southwest Area. She continually spoke about it on the Dais. I believe that when the Policies I have fought for in the past of sharing all Incident Reports in “Real Time” to the Commission were not being enforced by the previous Chief. This led to a false sense that it was really not that bad!

What was worse, was our youngest Commissioner, who was pushing a small group to speak out against our Police Department. She was naïve to the fact that we worked tirelessly with many Residents in the area to get rid of the blatant Drug Dealing. These were not simply Marijuana deals, but with Crack and Cocaine. Chief McGill, our Federal Partners and unified Residents worked side by side on what was called Weed and Seed. Weeding out the Crime and establishing programs to benefit the Citizens.

I am very optimistic that Chief Michel is the person to continue the legacy of true Community Policing. Working with the Residents to Fight Crime and to keep our streets safe. In this uncertain time in our society, due to COVID-19 and the Economy, we need strong caring policing. As a Commission we need to ensure that our Officers are well equipped with all of the modern tools and training to protect our Citizens. We also need to send the message that our Officers are here to aid our Citizens in their most incomprehensible and vulnerable situations. I congratulate and thank Chief Michel for taking on this amazing duty.

City Manager, Dr. Jeremy Earle also deserves to be thanked for making the decision to hire Chief Michel. Sadly, he could not attend the Commission meeting due to his father's illness. I read his heartfelt message into the record. Commissioner Taub sponsored a proclamation in honor of Dr. Earle to recognize his hard work over the past year and a half as City Manager. His astute ability to lead our City and Staff through extremely tough financial territory has been remarkable. His professionalism, candor and transparency has been exactly what our City has needed to get us on a stable path.

During this presentation Dr. Earle was at home with his father who was in hospice. The following day Dr. Johnathan Earle passed away. While City Manager, Dr. Earle is very private, I am hoping that he will not mind that I am sharing with our readers of his father’s accomplishments. I now understand where Dr. Earle gets his passion for Service and Community.

Dr. Earle completed his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 1985 and joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering in 1987. He was appointed Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Florida College of Engineering in 1992. This position was later upgraded to Associate Dean. He remained in this position until his retirement in December of 2007.

Dr. Earle was a leader, a pioneer and an innovator in Engineering Education who devoted his career to the success of students. As Associate Dean, he created the Engineering Student Services Center to provide Advising, Resources and Academic Support to Engineering Students. He is perhaps best known, though, for his dedication to increasing the retention and graduation rates of minority students in Engineering Disciplines. In 1993, he implemented the STEPUP Program (Successful Transition through Enhanced Preparation for Undergraduate Programs). STEPUP provides an intensive 6-week Residential Program for selected students and includes Peer Mentoring, Academic Preparation in Calculus, Chemistry and Engineering Design, as well as Industry Networking Opportunities. This Program is nationally recognized. From 2000 - 2001, he was responsible for the implementation of EFTP (Engineering Freshman Transition Program), which provided a Non-Residential experience open to all Engineering Freshman, as well as the Engineering GatorTrax Math Excellence Program, which was designed to provide hands-on applications of Classroom Mathematics Concepts to Middle and High School Students in the State of Florida. GatorTrax was so successful that the National Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, modeled its K-12 Outreach Programs (MindSet) after GatorTrax. He also implemented the Gator Engineering K-12 Outreach Program that has brought over 10,000 students to the UF Campus to learn about Engineering.

His many Awards and Recognitions include: the Wolfson Faculty Award for Outstanding Service to Students at the University of Florida, a member of the National Executive Council of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the SECME Global Vision Award and the Faculty of the Year Award. In 2007, at a Ceremony in the White House he received the National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Upon receiving this Award, he is quoted: “I was humbled by it because I didn’t do this work for the award — I was just thinking about how to make my students successful,” Earle said. “For me the award is really a way of saying, ‘You made your students successful.’”

Words alone cannot describe Dr. Earle's impact on our College. I, like many others, looked upon him as a mentor and role model. He was a wonderful colleague and a great and humble man. His work will never be forgotten. Dean Cammy R. Abernathy, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering - University of Florida.

Our prayers are with the entire Earle family. Next week, I will share the funeral arrangements.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by Phone or Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com.