The 17-year police department veteran told The Miami Times that he hosted the event in an effort to raise grassroots support for his candidacy. Barrow said he made several new connections and received checks from interested residents, although he did not provide an estimate of the funds raised during the event.
“It went well,” Barrow said. “The folks that were there were engaged and I was able to speak to them about my life story, my experience, why I’m running and what I plan to do.”
Barrow announced his candidacy in September, just days before former Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez dropped out of the race following a suicide attempt in July. Ramirez has since returned to the police department as a senior advisor.
With Ramirez out of the race, the sheriff’s seat is up for grabs. So far, 14 candidates have filed to run, including three Democrats and 11 Republicans. Barrow, a Democrat, will go against former federal agent Susan Khoury and Rickey Mitchell, a former Miami-Dade police officer, in an Aug. 20, 2024, primary election.
The Miami-Dade County sheriff’s position was abolished in 1966, meaning next year will be the first time in decades that residents will elect someone to fill the seat. A 2018 statewide ballot initiative brought back the position beginning in 2025.
Barrow believes he is the right fit for the job.
“I love this community and I love this department,” he said. “I want to ensure that the sheriff’s office, when it is instituted, continues to be rooted in the community … because the only way for the police to be effective is with the help and with the partnership of the community.”
Barrow grew up surrounded by crime in the neighborhood of Carol City, although he attended high school at Mast Academy in Key Biscayne. He also spent many summers housesitting on the Key with his family and has attended church in the village for 11 years, which is why he chose it for his first fundraising event.
He earned a master’s degree in public administration, briefly worked as a public school teacher and eventually joined the Miami-Dade Police Department at the Hammocks District Police Station, the most populated district in the county. Barrow moved up the ranks, serving in all parts of the department, before becoming a major in 2020. He now serves in the personnel management bureau.
Barrow told The Miami Times he’s visited Miami Beach, Kendall and parts of south Miami-Dade to connect with residents.
“This campaign intends to continue to build out our team and continue to fundraise,” he said, “but also I intend to go to all corners of the county to give my message personally to the voters who do not know me yet.”
Barrow had raised $6,380 as of Sept. 30, when the last reports were due.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County’s Independent Civilian Panel, recreated in 2020 to investigate complaints against the police department, continues to wonder how it will be affected by the new sheriff. Barrow, for one, said he vows to promote the panel’s existence.
“I will continue to work with the independent review panel because I believe in transparency and having the community involved in our decisions,” he said.
The sheriff isn’t the only threat to the panel, however. Two new bills, SB 576 and HB 601, which would preempt civilian oversight panels at the local level, were filed last month to be considered during the 2024 Florida legislative session.