(see video link below)
For Immediate Release
Detective Oscar Plasencia of the Miami/Dade County Sheriff’s Office Honored as the
2012 Florida Sheriffs Association “Deputy Sheriff of the Year”
Tallahassee, Fla. (August 1, 2011) – The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) today announced that Miami/Dade County Sheriff’s Detective, Oscar Plasencia, has been selected as the “2012 Deputy Sheriff of the Year.” Plasencia is being recognized today at the FSA Summer Conference in Kissimmee for his dedication to law enforcement and living out his oath to serve and protect the public.
“We would like congratulate Detective Plasencia and each of the outstanding officers who were nominated,” said Steve Casey, Executive Director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “We give thanks to all of the Florida Law Enforcement officers who protect our great state every day. The Florida Sheriffs’ Offices embody excellence as we make a difference in each of the 67 counties we serve, and we are honored that the brave efforts of Miami/Dade County Detective Oscar Plasencia were recognized today.”
Detective Plasencia is a 32 year veteran of the Miami Dade County Police Department (MDPD). He is a third generation law enforcement officer following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who both served as police officers in his home country of Cuba. Upon joining the MDPD in 1980, he worked 18 months in uniform patrol; after several promotions, Plasencia landed in the Career Criminal Unit. It was here that Detective Plasencia would encounter a life changing experience.
January 20, 2011, is a day that Oscar Plasencia will not soon forget. The day started out the same as any other with the career criminal squad, consisting of Plasencia and Detectives Amanda Haworth, Roger Castillo and Deidre Beecher, setting out to track down their latest target. Little did they know that two of them would not be coming home that night. The suspect, Johnny Simms, was wanted on a murder charge and held a record that included more than a dozen arrests for charges ranging from auto theft to armed robbery. When the detectives arrived to a Liberty City Duplex on NW 69th Street and NW 6th Court, they created a perimeter and approached the front door. Detectives Haworth and Beecher made contact with the suspect’s mother and entered the premises. Upon entering, Simms burst out of a back bedroom opening fire on the detectives, shooting Haworth twice. Beecher quickly fled the household, twisting her knee in the process. Simms then fired shots at Castillo as he attempted to flee the scene down an alley, at which point Plasencia was the only thing standing between Simms and an escape into the neighborhood. In a moment it was all over; Plasencia and Simms traded fire and Simms was killed. Unfortunately, Haworth and Castillo also lost their lives in this tragic course of events.
“He was the right person, in the right place, at the most horrible time in our department’s history,” said Director James K. Loftus. “Not only did he survive, but he won, and our community is a safer place for his actions.”
This was the first time Detective Plasencia had fired his weapon at another person. He relied on his instincts and allowed his training to take over. The heroic actions of Detective Plasencia prevented a career criminal from continuing to endanger the lives of the residents of Miami/Dade County.
For his heroic service, the Florida Sheriffs Association named him the 2012 Deputy Sheriff of the Year. During their annual summer conference banquet, Plansencia was given a hearty round of applause from the 500-plus law enforcement attendees and their supporters, plus a handsome plaque and a check for $2,000.
* * *