KEY WEST — Newly elected Monroe County
State Attorney Dennis Ward aims to see changes during his term,
including staff changes.
Ward, a Republican who defeated Democrat
Catherine Vogel during the November elections, has experience in the
office. According to dennisward2016.com, he served as the county's
state attorney from 2008-12. Ward had been in private practice the
last four years.
As he once again takes control of the state
attorney’s office, Ward intends to revamp the system.
“During my interactions with Catherine
Vogel during the campaign, my biggest complaint was about the lack of
leadership, training and supervision in the office,” Ward said in
an article in the FL
“We’re going to fix those problems and
look at the senior management. There is going to change in some of
the leadership positions,” he said.
While Ward has been open with his plans to
implement changes aggressively in the office, he was not more
specific about who he had in mind for the positions. He anticipated
the possibility of seeing more people resign or vacate their posts
even before he takes his office. Ward said this practice also
occurred during his earlier tenure as state attorney.
“I’m really not going to get into
personalities. Some people will decide they’re going to leave,”
Ward said. “There may be more people who resign the day before I
take office. That happened last time.”
Ward explained that his planned shakeup of
the office is a result of the feedback from the Key West community.
He said that even his decision to run was heavily influenced by the
members of the public who expressed disappointments and frustrations
over Vogel’s leadership.
“I want to take a look at the office and
where we can make improvements,” he said. “One of the reasons I
ran is because a number of law-enforcement officers, commercial
fishermen and others asked me to run. We got into it, and here we
Ward, who was born and raised in Miami,
enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970, according to his campaign
website. After serving in Vietnam and following his discharge, he
served as a police officer in the City of Miami Beach. He took on the
roles of a patrol officer, motorcycle officer and street-crimes
detective during his stint with the MBPD. His responsibilities also
included handling cases of thefts, burglaries and frauds under the
Criminal Investigation Unit. He also handed cases involving
juveniles, missing persons and elderly when he worked on the Juvenile
His legal career includes a stint as an
assistant state attorney in Plantation starting in 2002 and as a
assistant public defender starting in 2005.
The four-year term for Ward began Jan. 3.