This is not your typical weekend softball league – many of the players have big college experience on the baseball diamond and a few have even played professional baseball. The police softball league spans from Los Angeles to New York City, with over 400 teams. There is an East Division and West Division and national rankings, with perennial powerhouses like “LAPD Blue” representing the Los Angeles Police Department, usually sitting at or near the top.
Locally, there are two teams that have Miami-Dade Police Department officers on its roster, scratching at the rankings. “Miami 5.0” is ranked 20th nationally and the “Miami Metro Dawgz” is ranked 13th nationally.
Lieutenant Nelson Andreu Jr., assigned to the Miami-Dade Public Safety Training Institute & Research Center, is the captain of the Miami Metro Dawgz team, and Sergeant Anthony Garcia, assigned to the Kendall District, is the captain of Miami 5.0.
The Miami Metro Dawgz has 15 players from the department, three players from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and two from the Miami Police Department. The team has been in the league since 2009. At least 40 players from the department have been on the team since it started.
The rules of the tournament require that teams representing large agencies, with over 500 officers, cannot have players from other agencies on the roster. Forty teams entered that tournament.
From the obvious benefits of exercise, sports leagues for law enforcement agencies are a great way for police officers to build pride and comradery, and is a form of mutual support and stress relief between teammates who understand the demands of the profession. Furthermore, events such as the First Responder Games and leagues specifically for law enforcement can be an excellent public relations and recruitment tool.
Miami 5.0 has six players from the department, out of 22 players from eight different agencies, including the Doral Police Department, Key Biscayne Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, and the Pembroke Pines Police Department. The team joined the league in 2019.
“We have a great time, our families are out there watching, the kids go, they wear matching jerseys,” Sergeant Garcia said. “For us, police softball and specifically Miami 5.0 is a brotherhood. We all depend on each other on the field a few weekends out of the year but more importantly we depend on each other every day in our daily lives. Every person on this team has the full support of 21 other individuals at any second of the day, there’s no price you can pay for that.”
While not officially sanctioned by the department – the uniforms do not have any departmental branding and the teams do not receive any funding from the department – the teams do have the blessing of the director’s office. “We know that as officers of the Miami-Dade Police Department, we always reflect it, and so sportsmanship is the number one thing,” Sergeant Garcia said. Given all the different agencies, it is sometimes hard to find practice times that fit everyone’s schedule, but they manage to make it work. Some teams in other regions and states are organized through their respective departments and get internal practice time and funding. We work, to unplug and unwind playing softball.
Originally published at https://www.miamidade.gov/global/news-item.page?Mduid_news=news1700235140677156