New Leadership Takes Over At Coral Gables Fraternal Order Of Police, Following Landslide Election

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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The Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police held its board elections last month and opted for new leadership in landslide results.

Elected were President Christopher Challenger (74.7%), Vice President Joseph Cramer (68.1%), Secretary Eduardo Castaneda (75.2%), State Trustee Velier Zaccheo (71.4%), Treasurer Christopher Harzinski (unopposed), Outer Guard James Molina (69.7%), Inner Guard Daniel Sotolongo (unopposed) and Chaplain Leandro Izquierdo (53.5%).

Challenger was Coral Gables’ Police Officer of the Year in 2019 and has served on the City’s Retirement Board. Zaccheo was Officer of the Year in 2018. Molina was Officer of the Month in July of 2014 and awarded the “Silver Medal of Valor” in 2018.

The new leadership was sworn in on Thursday, January 19th.

They take over just two weeks after impasse in contract negotiations was declared with their counterparts at the Fire Fighter’s Union, as the City opts to pad the salaries of executives while doubling down on negotiations with the unions and issuing minimal raises to non-union employees.

As previously reported on Gables Insider, there was a glowing disparity in raises for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year. The Chief of Police received a 9.20% raise ($19,360.00) and the Fire Chief a 12.92% raise ($22,977.00). Police Majors averaged a 9.55% raise ($14,684.20). The Deputy Fire Chief and Division Chiefs averaged a 14.65% raise ($23,220.00).

As for the rank and file who are on the front lines protecting residents, the 146 Police Officers averaged a 4.01% raise ($3,401.37), while the 91 Fire Fighters averaged an 0.75% raise ($634.33).



8 thoughts on “New Leadership Takes Over At Coral Gables Fraternal Order Of Police, Following Landslide Election

  1. Christopher J Harzinski is a criminal. He steals people’s land. How the hell is he still a cop???

  2. Is this the same Christopher Harzinski who allegedly harassed his neighbor, and built a fence on her property, attaching it with screws to HER HOUSE, according to the news? Is it the same officer who the News showed he had blocked off her windows, with lattice and plant material, so those inside could see outside, or escape in case of emergency? Is it the same Officer Harzinski, who “claimed” he owned the property up to her house, and when the City said he did not own the 7 feet next to her house, he removed 7 feet of the fence, but still placed three large plants on her property, blocking access? Does that action show he may have been trying to scam any future buyer of his house, that is for sale, making them believe he owned that 7 feet, right to her house, and if they purchased his house, they would own it too? When the neighbor tried to remove the lattice and plant material from HER WINDOWS, the news played what he said on her security camera; that if she removed it, he would call police and have her arrested! It seems that A Christopher Harzinski may use his badge, to harass and bully his neighbor, and threaten her with arrest, by other officers! Were those officers he knew he could call on to make a false arrest, in the list of names of new FOP officers? If this is the same Christopher Harzinski, he shouldn’t be allowed to carry a badge or gun, but I see how he’s allegedly gotten away with allegedly harassing his neighbor, having friends in high places, he knew he wouldn’t be held accountable! That’s how officers are not held to a higher standard!

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  4. Lourdes,

    All of the officers in the picture are white men. Period. Yes, a Hispanic person can be white. Many Hispanic people are white and also identify themselves as such.

    Unlike the photograph in this article, the CGPD does include women and people of color.

    Physical fitness is a requirement to join the force, but not a requirement to stay. Plenty of male officers do not meet the fitness standard that recruits have to meet. Any human in good health can train to meet the fitness standard for new recruits. Some imagined difficulty for women to meet the fitness standard for new recruits is a preposterous rationale for the proportion of women officers in leadership, and for the white man homogeneity in this article’s picture.

  5. Maria Garcia,

    Please recognize 4 of the 8 are Hispanic men. Progress has been made. We don’t have a large African American community. You may not want to hear this, but physical prowess is a must for firemen, policemen & soldiers. Women aren’t usually that muscular. Maybe some Female athletes who take hormones are physically strong enough.

  6. Good old boys club. Why aren’t there any women and officers of color. There is something wrong with this picture, zero diversity.

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