New Opa-Locka police chief sworn in
OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (WSVN) -- Opa-Locka police officers performed a drug bust on the same day their embattled department introduced a new police chief, Wednesday.
Officers surrounded and barged into a warehouse Wednesday afternoon. They found 36 tall marijuana plants inside a back room. "I think the officer that observed the activities just felt that it warranted something for further investigation, and it turned out to be fruitful," said David Chiverton, Opa-Locka's assistant city manager.
A judge granted a warrant to search the warehouse at Northwest 134th Street and 47th Avenue, just hours after the City swore in its new police chief, Jeffrey Key. "I proudly, proudly pass the helm to our new chief," said outgoing chief Cherly Cason during the ceremony.
It's a tainted helm Cason is passing on to Key. During the former chief's tenure, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement began investigating the police department after a 2011 city report revealed allegations of police abuse. Officers were accused of having sex with known criminals in exchange for dropped charges. Officers also claimed they were sent on "fishing expeditions" in which they would pull over black drivers to meet arrest quotas.
When asked by 7News' Carmel Cafiero to comment on these allegations as part of a 2011 story, Cason replied, "With all due respect, I'm unable to comment due to this being an investigation."
When Cason introduced Key during Wednesday's ceremony. She heralded him as her prodigy, and the new chief returned the compliment. "When I got here from the academy, 24 years ago, she was my first field training officer," Key said. "She taught me a lot, and she was tough."
Despite his past connection to the outgoing chief, Key assured this was the beginning of a new era for Opa-Locka. "I want to reduce crime," he said. "Number two, more visibility on the streets." Key was able to back up these statements on Day One, as officers put a drug criminal off the streets.
No charges were ever filed as part of FDLE's 2011 investigation.
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