Chief Casas, panther protector at a ‘perfect fit’ job

Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

Born and raised in Miami, FIU Chief of Police Alexander D. Casas graduated from FIU in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He got his Master’s of Arts in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

In 1990, Casas started his policing career at 20 years old at the Miami-Dade Police Department. He worked multiple divisions of the Police Department including patrolling the areas such as Miami Gardens, Liberty City, and the Northeast end of Miami Dade County.

He also worked as an investigator in Domestic Violence when it had just started.  The Police Department believed that it was important to pay close attention to Domestic Violence and make it a specialty during the publicized case of O.J. Simpson.

Casas’ journey continued to evolve when he got promoted to Sergeant and was assigned to the Northside Districts.  He later became a sergeant in the investigation of the Miami Gardens districts; now called the Carol City District.

Chief Casas' medal collection Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

Chief Casas’ medal collection
Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

Later in his career, Casas worked in sexual battery districts for a few years before making lieutenant. He spent a year in Community affairs and became a general investigations unit commander in the Northwest districts and back in the North Side district. From there, Casas made Captain and went on to the homicide bureau where he got promoted to Major.

Casas was the Interim division chief for the South operations divisions, which is the part of Miami Dade County that basically from Doral south.

Around that same time, the FIU Police Department had an opening and was looking for to hire. “The more I went through the interview process, the more I realized that Campus policing was very interesting to me” Casas said “ It was at the right time of my career to do this type of policing: more preventive, more mentoring, more of the guardian type stuff and it was a great fit for me.”

Casas feels like FIU is one of those places where a lot of things in his life intersect. “As we grow in our professional career, we’re always prioritizing something whether it’s your career, your school or your family, something’s always giving,” Casas said “So It’s very rare when you get an opportunity where so many things in your life intersect here [FIU]”

Casas’ family goes to school here, he went to school here and get to practice his chosen profession here at FIU, Casas grew up around here and all of those intersections make loving his job a whole lot easier.

“I bring an experience, a CV, of that major metropolitan, very complex, large budgets at a time when policing on campus is changing.” Casas said “ Every year, the things that we’re faced with that we have to address as a University police department is very different from the things we used to address 20 years ago.”

According to Casas, the FIU Police Department went from being a security force to keep the campus safe to being an entity that is actively involved in the day to day operations of the University. The FIU police department does everything a Police Department should do in terms of student safety and event management, but on a different scale.

Casas said “What I like about it, so much, is that it is very different for me, I am involved in a lot of different activities and interactions which is something I did not get to do at Miami-Dade.”

The FIU Police Department is involved in the planning of events, they can staff it properly. They give it the right security plan so that nobody gets hurts, the event is safe and not disrupted.

Casas said that with the right personnel deployments and resource allocation, the FIU police can recognize what’s happening in the community and prevent it from happening here, which is what makes FIU a really safe place to be.

Chief Casas' bobbleheads Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

Chief Casas’ bobbleheads
Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

“If the University would build me a house here for my family and my dog, I would move here in a heartbeat; that’s how safe I think FIU is.” Casas said.

The administration and the FIU police are very meticulous about student safety and they work together to resolve issues when it comes to even one student safety. The level of importance FIU gives to each and every student makes Casas love his job even more.  

Chief Alexander Casas believes that FIU is a great place for him to work and he is proud to be leading the task force that works to serve and protect the University.

Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

Photo by Sudyen Navarrete

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