Retired Sergeants Return to Department as Investigative Specialists

Retired Sergeants Return to Department as Investigative Specialists

Within the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Personnel Management Bureau, Ms. Dorothy Dorsett and Mr. James Dixon serve as investigative specialists. Their responsibility is to conduct thorough investigations into job applicants’ backgrounds, including their education, work history, and notably, their social media activity. This meticulous process aims to ensure that each applicant meets the department’s stringent hiring standards.

Both Ms. Dorsett and Mr. Dixon have experienced this scrutiny firsthand twice, as applicants to the police academy, and later, after retirement, as candidates for their current roles. While it is common for professional staff to transition into becoming police officers, the reverse, where a police officer becomes a professional employee after retirement, is quite rare.

For Ms. Dorsett, reentering the workforce, after three years of retirement, gave her something meaningful to do, and reconnect with co-workers that she considers family. She also feels uniquely positioned to offer advice to individuals who are about to enter the police academy. “It’s really rewarding for me to process a police officer’s applicant file, because of my experience as a police officer, I can impart some advice, having my background,” she said.

Ms. Dorsett started out in banking, as a bank teller and then a loan manager, and after almost 20 years, she decided to become a police officer and joined the department. “I always admired police officers, I don’t have any law enforcement family members or anything like that, but I wanted to change. There was an officer who did off-duty security at the bank, and he suggested that I give it a try. As a loan manager, I wore the three-piece suit and heels, so definitely it was a big adjustment to become a police officer. But I can say that it was a field that I had always been interested in, so it was a good fit for me,” Ms. Dorsett said.

She retired in February 2017, with the rank of sergeant, and then in June 2020, started working as an investigative specialist. “Being in law enforcement was my comfort zone, because I did it for 25 years, and working in this department, I had a lot of pleasant memories, and that’s why I chose to come back. The people I knew from my time here, they have been very welcoming. As a police officer, I was around civilian personnel a lot, I know that they support our officers, and that we need each other, so now working in this capacity, I’ve seen both sides, and that sense of comradery, of family, is still strong.”

Her co-worker, Mr. Dixon, joined the department in September 1995. In the late 90’s, Mr. Dixon and Ms. Dorsett worked together, for three years, patrolling the Carol City district. “Whoever thought that we would come back full circle, working together again after all those years?” Mr. Dixon said.

He said that growing up in Liberty City, he witnessed a lot of tension between police and his community and lived through the “McDuffie Riots” and other incidents that drew widespread protests. “I didn’t just read about it or see it in news, I actually lived it, the Miami-Dade community went through terrible experiences, in its relationship with the police department. Changes needed to be made, and that’s what made me say ‘you know, I can do this.”

He retired in January 2022, as a sergeant. He said he enjoyed his brief retirement, did a little traveling, spent time with his grandchildren, and did things around house. He had a part-time job as a security contractor for the U.S. Marshal’s Service, in which he did court security. But Mr. Dixon felt that he still had something to give back to the department. He felt that he had more to offer, so he came back, first as a reserve officer in 2023, and then in January 2024, as an investigative specialist. “I wanted to give back to young officers, tell them about how they should conduct themselves and understand the consequences of interactions with people, and how to stay safe, that’s what brought me back.”

“If you spend a lot of years in a place, you’ll develop a lot of friends. They’re always joking with me, saying stuff like ‘wow, it’s noisy around here again, JD must be back,” Mr. Dixon said.

Originally published at

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