The North Miami Police Department’s “Officer of the Year” for 2012 is Officer Otoniel Fernandez, who is currently assigned to the Patrol Division, K-9 Unit, Day Shift. He was nominated by Sergeant Rafael Estrugo for his alertness, quick thinking and sound investigative skills. Officer Fernandez has been a Police Officer for 12 years. Officer Fernandez was nominated for the following outstanding performance.
On November 9, 2012, at approximately 9:17 AM, Officer Fernandez observed a suspicious vehicle parked at an address in northeast North Miami. The vehicle was occupied by three males. Officer Fernandez approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver, at which point he observed a small .22 caliber revolver on the driver's side floorboard. Officer Fernandez immediately drew his firearm and ordered all three subjects to exit the vehicle at gunpoint. A search of the driver revealed a clear plastic bag containing marijuana concealed in his pocket. Officer Fernandez continued to investigate. He researched a log of recent Miami-Dade County and Broward County BOLO's and learned that the vehicle had been stolen during an Armed Carjacking which occurred on November 3, 2012. During the Armed Carjacking, two subjects, described as males, 16-18 years of age, thin, wearing black hoods and black gloves, approached the victim, snatched her necklace from her neck and demanded her purse and keys. The victim, in fear for her life, cooperated. The subjects then fled in the victim's vehicle.
Officer Fernandez conducted a thorough search of the vehicle. The search revealed two black hoods, two sets of black gloves, a bolt action rifle, ammunition, cash and the victim's car keys. Officer Fernandez also found a receipt from the purchase of the ammunition dated November 8, 2012, which suggests that the subjects intended on using the firearms and possibly victimize other citizens. A records check revealed that two of the subjects had outstanding felony warrants for Robbery & Trespassing. The subjects have criminal pasts and are Convicted Felons.
All three subjects were taken into custody by Miami-Dade Police Department Robbery Detectives who will take over the investigation and charge the subjects accordingly. Officer Fernandez additionally charged the subjects with Grand Theft Auto, Carrying a Concealed Firearm (2 Counts), Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon (4 Counts), Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 Counts), and Possession of Marijuana.
Due to Officer Fernandez's alertness, quick thinking and sound investigative skills, three dangerous criminals were located and arrested, a stolen vehicle was recovered and two deadly firearms were taken off the streets. Officer Otto Fernandez was chosen as the Officer of the Year for 2012 and will be honored at the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held monthly at the Miami Shores Country Club, on
Wednesday, January 23, 2012 at 12:00 Noon.