MIAMI (CBS4) - Moments after assuming command as the new director of the Miami Dade Police Department, JD Patterson was answering questions about a squad of lazy cops who were caught on surveillance video ducking calls.
“We want to send a message that that is not acceptable,” Patterson said following his swearing in ceremony at County Hall.
The furor over the CBS4 investigation – which showed one officer canoodling with his girlfriend and another shopping – was evident as reporters swarmed around Mayor Carlos Gimenez for reaction following the event.
“You’re talking about Channel 4, the Channel 4 investigation?” Gimenez asked the assembled reporters who peppered him for comment. “That is something we took care of in August.”
Although two officers and a sergeant were fired in September and three other officers were disciplined last summer, the investigation and the punishment only came to light this week after CBS4 investigator Jim DeFede obtained the surveillance video taken by the police department’s Internal Affairs unit.
Mayor Gimenez said he found the conduct of the disciplined officers reprehensible.
“You’re letting your co-workers pick up your slack because you basically don’t want to work,” Gimenez said. “That’s pretty despicable and so yeah, the fact that you aren’t providing the service we are paying you for and that the citizens deserve. The fact that you are also doing it to your own officers; it’s a pretty low act.”
Patterson said he was heartened by the fact the problems were reported by other officers and that the department cleaned up its own mess. Nevertheless, Patterson said the scandal is blight on the department and they will have to work to regain the public’s trust.
“I know we have some issues with certain officers but at the same time the majority of officers that work within the Miami Dade Police Department and have worked in the Miami Dade Police Department are committed professionals,” he said. “When we all come into this profession almost 99 percent of us say we come to serve this community.
“And serve really does mean that, it means serve. It doesn’t mean pick and chose what you do. It doesn’t mean you selectively respond to calls. It means serve. So therefore I think all of us are offended there are members of our agency that did not serve.”