HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Homestead Police Chief Alexander E. Rolle has accomplished many ﬁrsts in his law enforcement career.
After joining the department in 1979, he became the ﬁrst Black captain, ﬁrst African American major, ﬁrst Black police chief, and is currently the longest serving police top brass in the state of Florida.
But Rolle, 72, had to overcome adversity and prejudice to reach the pinnacle in law enforcement: He’s reportedly among a few Black police ofﬁcers in Florida to have a police station renamed after him.
To recognize his career that has spanned 44 years, the City of Homestead is renaming the station at 45 NW 1st Avenue the Alexander E. Rolle, Jr. Building, honoring a leader who’s committed to improving the lives of area residents.
The renaming resolution unanimously passed the city council and Rolle will be honored during a dedication ceremony set for Tuesday, Feb. 28, 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Councilman Larry Roth ﬁled the legislation to honor Rolle.
"Rolle served as a compassionate and caring leader and was committed to improving the lives of Homestead residents and had an immeasurable positive impact with his lifelong commitment," Roth said.
Rolle, 72, said of the recognition, "In all honesty it is shocking," adding, "I never dreamed this would happen. I am honored and I am humbled. It’s an honor and I am blessed as well."
Born and raised in Homestead, Rolle started his career in 1979, and was appointed chief in 1998. He oversees 127 ofﬁcers, 211 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget.
City ofﬁcials said Rolle has been responsible for hiring most of his department’s workforce, and his ofﬁcers call him one of the most decorated law enforcement ofﬁcers in Florida, having earned several commendations for his work.
But it was a tough road for Rolle when he joined the Homestead Police Department after serving in the U.S. military.
He said he faced a lot of adversity and alleged racism as a 29-year-old while rising through the ranks.
"It wasn’t easy," he said. "When I went through the police academy it was a trying time for a young African American man. I was able to jump a lot of hurdles and accomplish some of the things I wanted to do for my career."
Rolle said he has made history three times in the city by becoming the ﬁrst Black captain, Black major and Black police chief in the department.
"Miami-Dade gave me an opportunity when I came out of the military in 1979," he said. "My career started and hasn’t stopped. I have to thank Miami-Dade for what it did for me. They showed me the light."
Rolle said he will be remembered as the guy who was given second chances because "we all make mistakes when we are young."
"It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you ﬁnish the race," he said.
Rolle said he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
"The reason I am still here is that the people in the police department want me to stay here and the people in the community want me to stay here," he said.
“My whole philosophy is to make sure that people are safe and take care of the elderly and take care of kids and make sure that people in this city when they call the police respond in a professional manner and treat people respectfully."
Rolle is married and has four children and seven grandchildren. Two of Rolle’s three sons are police ofﬁcers and a third son, Antrel Rolle, is a former NFL defensive back for the New York Giants who played his college ball at the University of Miami.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kionne McGhee, whose district includes the Homestead-Florida City area, applauded the renaming.
"What a momentous occasion," said McGhee. "History was and all the accolades were well deserved. Thank you Councilman Larry Roth for leading this item. I’m looking forward to the celebration."