Lost M-D Police Squad Under Investigation

MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating an entire patrol squad, a sergeant and five officers, for allegedly conspiring with one another to duck and evade calls so they could instead hang out at malls and restaurants, CBS4 News has learned.

The so-called “lost squad” worked out of the Kendall District and pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation; the officers have been taken off the street and re-assigned to duties inside the station house.

Sources familiar with the investigation told CBS4 I-Team investigator Jim DeFede officers in the squad would respond to simple calls that would take no more than 20 or 30 minutes to handle. But rather than go back into service; they would claim they were actually on the call for two or three hours.

In other instances, they would be dispatched to a burglar alarm. But instead of going – they would lie by claiming they checked out the alarm and found nothing wrong.

The department declined to comment on the investigation, but sources familiar with the probe said it began earlier this year when officers in neighboring districts complained they were being called upon to respond to calls the squad should have handled.

Internal Affairs then launched their own sting operation, secretly following members of the unit. They even reportedly created phony radio calls to see how the officers would handle them.

The investigation is reportedly winding down and the findings will be presented to a panel of majors who will review the evidence – and if the evidence shows the officers either evaded or failed to respond to calls, then the panel will make a recommendation as to punishment.

Ultimately the decision as to punishment will be made by Police Director James Loftus. If the allegations are true, the likelihood is the officers would be fired, according to those familiar with case.

Former Miami Police Chief Ken Harms said that if the allegations are indeed true, firing the officers would be the right decision.

“It’s a violation of your of your sacred trust as a sworn police officer to engage in that kind of conduct,” Harms told DeFede. “If you are not willing to work, it’s time to retire, time to go elsewhere. Don’t be a burden on a community. Don’t be a burden on a police department. Serve with honor. Serve with dignity and earn your pay. Every day earn your pay.”

What makes this case so extraordinary, Harms said, was that it involved an entire squad allegedly working together. There have been instances in the past of individual officers getting caught shirking their duties by milking calls, but he said in all his years in law enforcement, he’s never heard of an entire squad doing it.

“Not to my recollection,” he said. “And that is something in my view that would be memorable.”

In August, the department acknowledged that a squad in the Kendall district was under investigation. But they refused to say why. The department is still not commenting while the investigation nears conclusion. But as you might imagine, residents in the area were both surprised and dismayed.

“I’m shocked,” said Candice Watson, who works in Kendall.

“I think that’s terrible,” added Pat Gray, who said she believes the majority of police officers in the county work hard protecting and serving the public.

When Kendall resident Fernando Acuna heard that the sergeant in the squad was also suspected of ducking calls, he said he wasn’t surprised.

“Well there’s your real problem,” Acuna said. “You lead by example.”

County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, a former Miami-Dade police officer, represents Southwest Dade and said he was saddened to hear of the allegations.

“As somebody who wore the badge and took pride in responding to every single call, no matter how big or small they were, it is very disappointing to hear that some of my brothers in uniform did not do this,” Martinez said, adding that at this point these are merely allegations and the investigation must continue.

“I hope and would like to think that they did respond to the calls,” Martinez said, “and if they didn’t, I’m sure the director will deal with it in the appropriate manner.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez agreed.

“We will find out what the investigation finally determines,” the mayor said. “Obviously it’s a black eye on the department. But I think the department as a whole does its job fairly well, I mean really well. And so I would hope it’s a rogue group and not something endemic in the department – and I don’t think it is.”

More from Jim DeFede
Comments

One Comment

  1. Robert Smith says:

    Support the Police………Turn in the Bad Police

    1. Joe Melchiona says:

      Absolutely!

  2. Miami2222 says:

    Nothing will change unless government officials get PROSECUTED as criminals for this type of thing. Firing them and stripping them of their pensions is really not enough – and I’d be surprised it that even happens. Let me guess, prior to this they had all sorts of polilce “commendations” for “excellent” police work…they run their own Kangaroo Court of sorts with those “commendations.” They’re untrustworthy in the best of scenarios – I’d hate to see how they’d lie under stress. Lock-em up!!

    1. Joe Melchiona says:

      And what exactly do you plan on criminally charging them with genius? Are you going to go ahead and pass a new criminal law? Get your facts straight, then make your comments so you don’t come off as such a….. If I got nothing nice to say let me just be quiet.

    2. xoxoxxo says:

      you’re an idiot…..try them as criminals?? really?? what crime would that be? you sound more like a criminal yourself loser!! you should be locked up….if not for crime….which i doubt it…then maybe just for plain stupid…

  3. Sheri says:

    amazing – and they complain that their salaries are being reduced…

    1. Joe Melchiona says:

      If the hard working ones are complaining…. Then so be it. They deserve it.

  4. Alex says:

    Poor judgement is one trait that can be shared by everyone, regardless of the profession. In the private, as in the public sector, there are those who would tarnish your profession and industry. However to undermine every police officer and speak ill about a subject such as salaries is ignorant. There are more people who would never have the intestinal fortitude to protect another human being, place themselves in harms way for a stranger, or have the courage to do all that is asked of our law enforcement…my mother often told me as a child, that if I didn’t know what I was talking about, shut hell up…you should follow this philosophy.

    1. Joe Melchiona says:

      Very intelligent….

  5. Bill Solen says:

    It seems that Miami2222 has a lot to say using a pseudo name. I doubt that he/she knows anything about the profession or the law. Just another idiot turned loose on a computer.

    Also, what does Ken Harms have to do with any of this. He’s a former Miami PD Chef who was fired from his job. I’m not condoning the cops behavior but everyone has a right to be heard and to present their side. These are only allegations so don’t jump to conclusions Miami2222, you’re only making a fool of yourself with your ridiculous comments.

  6. Felix El Gato says:

    I think you left out some important information – like their names.

    1. Rick Neilson says:

      Jim DeFede,

      I noticed that this story came from a source who claims to be close to the investigation. Who’s the snitch Jimmy? The department didn’t issue a statement and anyone close to such an investigation would be risking disciplinary action for releasing information about an open investigation.

      I happen to know a few cops Jim. And the word on the street is that
      “The Lost Squad” led the platoon with the highest number of calls for service handled and arrests made. Why didn’t you report that Jimmy?
      This could just be a case of squad envy. I hear it’s all about stats even though the police claim there is no quota.

      There are plenty of cops on the street that have done way worse than milk or not respond to a call. I mean the stories are endless. I know of a Sgt. who was arrested for attempted premeditated murder and rape. Do you know where that Sgt. is Jim? He’s still working as a Sgt. for the same police department that arrested him.

      This is small potatoes Jimmy.

      Rick

  7. Luis Alvarez says:

    DON,T EXPECT MUCH ALL THOSE IN GOVERNMENT WHO ARE CRITICIZING THESE OFFICERS ARE HYPOCRITES. COPS ARE TAKING PAY CUTS LOSING HOLIDAY PAY GETTING 3RD RATE MEDICAL PLANS ALONG WITH OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ITS HAPPENING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. BUT THE POLITICIANS TALK ABOUT PAY CUTS AND NO TAX HIKES BUT THEY SACRIFICE NOTHING THEMSELVES THEIR MEDICAL PLANS ARE STILL UNTOUCHED AND WHILE MANY GOVERNMENT WORKERS TODAY NEED TO WORK 30 YEARS TO GET A DECENT RETIREMENT THE POLITICOS ONLY NEED TO SERVE 2 TERMS AND THEIR MEDICAL BENEFITS ARE STILL FREE. AND ALL THAT ON A PART TIME JOB IN AIR CONDITIONING AND NO RISK TO LIFE OR BODILY HARM SO THINK GOOD MY FRIENDS THEY ARE PEOPLE TOO AND YES THEY GET FRUSTRATED!
    .

  8. healthy dinner ideas says:

    Excellent points altogether, you just won a logo new reader. What may you suggest in regards to your post that you just made some days in the past? Any positive?

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