Officer of the Month June, 2023
Officer Juan Gallardo
The North Miami Police Department’s “Officer of the Month” for June 2023 is Officer Juan Gallardo. He is assigned to the Dayshift, Uniform Patrol Section. He is being recognized for his outstanding performance for the following incident:
On May 7th, 2023, North Miami dispatch was alerted by Miami-Dade County of a high priority call for service at 12320 NE 11th Place where a male was armed with a knife. The complainant was the mother, who was on the scene. Although Officer Gallardo was not assigned as the primary or backup unit on the call, he took it upon himself to respond. Upon arrival, a woman frantically ran towards the officers. She was extremely upset and burst into tears as she identified the male juvenile with the knife as her son. The juvenile was in the driveway holding a large knife and he was angry. Officer Gallardo and the officers on scene immediately sprang into action. They triangulated on the juvenile’s position and issued loud verbal commands while keeping a safe distance. The juvenile ignored the officers and declared that he did not want to live. For all intents and purposes, it was a stand-off. As Officer Gallardo and his fellow units continued to issue loud verbal commands, further information developed on scene that the child was autistic. This was the moment when all the training that Officer Gallardo possessed began to bear fruit. When authoritative attempts did not convince the juvenile to drop the knife, Officer Gallardo changed his tone of voice, his approach, and the energy that he projected. The frightened mother would frequently interrupt the officer’s dialogue, undoing the rapport that Officer Gallardo was trying to establish, yet, Officer Gallardo calmly reassured her and inquired about the hobbies, likes, and interests of the juvenile. Upon learning of the autistic youth’s love for computer games, Officer Gallardo used this information to talk about games and distracted the juvenile from the cause of his anger. After this shift in approach, the juvenile agreed to comply and placed the knife on the ground. Still, Officer Gallardo did not forget his officer safety training and moved in quickly to secure the weapon and the child. The anxious mother was exceedingly grateful that officers were able to bring the tense ordeal to a safe conclusion.
Thanks to his quick thinking and actions, Officer Gallardo was able to de-escalate a dangerous situation and get the juvenile the medical attention he needed while preventing him from harming himself or others in the process.
I am proud to recognize the Professionalism, Courage, and Empathy that Officer Gallardo showed during this incident, said being core values of the North Miami Police Department. His actions demonstrated a clear Respect for the Sanctity of Life.