New Police Director addresses recent scandal
KENDALL, Fla. (WSVN) -- An undercover investigation has South Florida police officers in serious hot water after they've been accused of betraying the badge while on duty.
Moments after being sworn in as the new Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department on Tuesday, J.D. Patterson was already forced to run damage control. "We want to send a message," said Patterson, "that that is not acceptable."
Over the past two years, six officers in the Kendall district have been under investigation for not responding to emergency calls in a timely manner.
Internal Affairs put surveillance on the officers in question. In one instance, an officer was seen hugging an unknown woman next to his car while being dispatched. Another hidden camera caught three of the officers in question sipping coffee and making no attempt to finish their meal. The department said their services were needed.
Some of the most damming video caught by a hidden camera was footage of a Miami-Dade police officer, supposedly en route to an emergency, seen kissing an unknown woman leaning into his patrol car. The new top cop said it is unacceptable. "There are some citizens," said Patterson, "who totally depend on us and they trust us completely. So it does in fact impact the level of trust that certain members of the community have for us."
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said such behavior is "despicable." "What's troubling is that basically they're taking advantage of their own officers," he said. "Not only are they not providing the service that our residents deserve, but they're also making other officers do their work for them," he added.
In total three officers have lost their jobs over the scandal: Sergeant Jennifer Gonzalez, Officer Dario Socarras and Officer Jose Huerta. Five others were either suspended or given a written reprimand. Gonzalez's attorney confirmed they are planning to appeal that disciplinary action.
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