header image with the American flag, Miami Gardens police Department patch, and three police motorcycles

Training Unit


The Training Unit provides department members with quality, contemporary training that serves to enhance their performance, knowledge, skills, and abilities. This enables us to provide more effective and efficient police service to our community, and promote each officer’s personal safety and well-being. In order to accomplish these objectives, we conduct comprehensive in-service training on an ongoing basis. Some of the High-Liability topics covered during these sessions include Firearms Proficiency, Defensive Tactics, Pursuit Driving and Scenario-Based Practical Applications. The Training Unit also supervises the academy training of new police cadets and offers periodic community educational programs for local businesses, schools and neighborhood crime watch groups.


The goal of the Miami Gardens Police Department Training Unit is to provide departmental personnel with the training necessary to meet the Department's mission, Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s standards and reduce liability to the City, Department, and personnel. To meet this goal, the Training Unit plans, develops, coordinates, and implements training programs; while maintaining training records on all personnel.

Unit Command Staff

Sergeant Samuel Espinosa

Sergeant Samuel Espinosa is a nineteen-year law enforcement veteran who joined the Miami Gardens Police Department in March of 2010 and promoted to Sergeant in January 2016. Prior to coming to the Miami Gardens Police Department, he was a sergeant with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Southwest Florida. He has served in many different capacities of law Enforcement throughout his career. Prior to being promoted to the rank of Sergeant, he served as the Unit’s Training Officer. Sergeant Espinosa serves as an Adjunct Instructor for the Broward College Institute of Public Safety where several local agencies send their non-certified cadets for Police Academy training. Sergeant Espinosa holds a bachelor’s degree from Hodges University in Criminal Justice. He is certified in all High Liability Instructor Courses through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many hours of training are required to become a certified police officer in the State of Florida?
Florida State Statute requires a minimum of 770 hours of curriculum based training. Once training is complete, the cadet is required to successfully pass the State Officer Certification Exam.

2. Who mandates how many training hours officers have to complete to maintain their certification?
The Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission ensures that agencies are updating the officer training records as required by Florida State Statute. All certified officers must complete 40 hours of training every four years to maintain their certification. This training can be taken at the employing agency, local training school, or any training approved by the agency administrator and must be updated by the employing agency no later than June 30, starting four years after the certification was granted.

3. What type of in-service training is provided to Miami Gardens Police Officers?
There are several mandatory training courses provided to all Miami Gardens Police Officers. Some included are as follows: Cultural Diversity, Ethics, De-Escalation Tactics, Active Shooter / Killer Response, and Crisis Intervention Training.

4. Does the Miami Gardens Police Department provide training to civilians in the community?

Yes – The Miami Gardens Police Department’s Training Unit provides selected training to members of the community. One of the most sought after classes is the Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Event class.

5. What does one have to do to become a police academy cadet?
First, an applicant must take and pass a Basic Abilities Test (BAT) in the discipline for which they want to become certified. Upon passage of the BAT, you must be fingerprinted for purposes of a criminal history background check. Once accepted, the next step is to complete the Basic Recruit Training Program at one of the CJSTC certified training schools. The candidate then must apply for and pass the State Officer Certification Exam for the discipline. Finally, one must gain employment and comply with the requirements of Florida State Statute 943.13, F.S. within four years of the date training was started.


Sergeant Samuel Espinosa
Phone: 305-474-1572
Email: [email protected]
Address: 18611 NW 27 Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33056