Two Miami Dade Police Sergeants Receive United States Attorney General’s Award

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Miami, Florida – Today, during a ceremony at Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) headquarters in Doral, Florida, MDPD Sergeants Kurt Berardino and Christopher Perez were presented with the Fifth Annual United States Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing.

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local, Tribal, and territorial police officers, deputies, and troopers for exceptional efforts in community policing.

The Department of Justice announced the award recipients in March, which included 18 law enforcement officers and deputies from 12 jurisdictions across the country.

During today’s ceremony, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Michelle Alvarez presented Sergeants Berardino and Perez with their awards, which included a letter to each officer from United States Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.  Miami Dade Police Department Interim Director George A. Perez attended the ceremony and publicly recognized the Sergeants for their exceptional work.   

Sergeants Berardino and Perez were honored for their tenacious criminal investigation of a July 2020 shooting in Miami that left one child dead and another child and two adults injured.  A ShotSpotter alert showed that 21 shots had been fired on a Miami street.  The investigation revealed that the victims were returning home from shopping and were fired on as they were getting out of their car.  Detectives Kurt Berardino and Christopher Perez (now both sergeants) immersed themselves in the subsequent investigation, poring over multiple Crime Stoppers tips, reviewing hours of surveillance footage, and questioning potential witnesses. As Berardino and Perez developed the case, they established a rapport with two of the survivors, and those survivors provided a positive identification of the subjects involved in the shooting.  This positive identification was key in furthering other leads that were gathered.  Evidence collected was crucial in solidifying victim statements and the timeline of the events.  Arrest warrants were eventually issued, and in September 2020, the detectives traveled to Georgia, where one suspect was taken into custody and later confessed; a second suspect was also arrested.  It was the tenacity, persistence, and determination of Detectives Berardino and Perez that closed this case and brought justice to the families of the victims and to the community.

The Department of Justice works closely with national law enforcement stakeholder groups during the award review period, taking advantage of their expertise and experience to determine the recipients in a competitive nomination process.  The Department also works closely with its components, utilizing the breadth of knowledge within the Department to ensure a successful program that honors the exceptional service of our nation’s law enforcement officers and deputies.  This year, the Department received 185 nominations from 145 agencies, recognizing a total of 347 individual officers, deputies, and troopers.  There were 39 states represented in the nomination pool, covering state, local, campus, sheriff, and other agency types.

Complete information on the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award.

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