By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
"Do you have proof of that?" Wright asked. Lettieri calls it detective's instinct, but she knew with that question that Wright was already aware of the fudged numbers. He said he'd look into it.
Lettieri wasn't reassigned to a different sergeant; in fact, the next day she received an email from Montgomery asking why a dent in her squad car hadn't been repaired. "I knew my days were numbered," she says. "I knew they were going to ride me, set me up." Under extreme pressure from her superiors, that night she was hospitalized with severe chest pains. Wright called her husband and demanded she return to the office any paperwork she had at home even though she had no cases in immediate need of work.
Lettieri never went back to work, and she resigned a few weeks later. No one ever called her to ask her to stay. "Wouldn't you think when I put my notice in that somebody would have called me and said, 'Look, why are you leaving?'" Odder still because the month before, Wright had nominated her for deputy of the year, writing a glowing letter highlighting three high-profile cases she'd helped solve, including the capture of both a serial rapist and a child molester.
"They wanted me out of there because I knew what was going on," she says. At the beginning of February, she received a letter from James Knight, a captain in the district, indicating her allegations would be investigated. She never heard from anyone again. (She has related all her experiences to the Broward SAO. Through the BSO media office, New Times asked Montgomery and Wright to respond to Lettieri's allegations, as well as other assertions in this story. BSO declined to do so.)
Lettieri wasn't the only one driven out of Pompano for raising a fuss.
Allen Jackson, trim, energetic and now a full-time pastor, was fired from BSO last year. In a corner of his office at his storefront church in Lauderdale Lakes stand three cardboard boxes of plaques and awards he received during his 10 years as a community policing liaison with Pompano's black community.
Back in 1999, when Jenne was courting Pompano Beach city commissioners to allow BSO to take over the police department, Carney invited Jackson downtown, where the colonel regaled him with the wonders of Powertrac. Many blacks weren't happy about the prospect of BSO coming in, and Carney asked Jackson to spread the word about how Powertrac would make deputies accountable. Suitably impressed by the pitch, Jackson did his part to smooth the way for the take-over.
But by 2001, he started hearing grumbling about Powertrac from deputies, though he didn't take it seriously until a close friend of his on the force confided: "Allen, I can't take this. I have integrity. I'm not going to fudge numbers or change things. I'm not going to bow down and cater to Ken Jenne and go to jail for him." His friend retired from BSO.
But it was the suicide of a close friend that truly pitted him against BSO. Shortly before a Powertrac meeting on May 28, 2002, Sgt. Raphael Wolfe drove his squad car to BSO headquarters, parked, and shot himself twice in the chest.
Wolfe and Jackson had lunched together frequently, and the sergeant often stopped into Jackson's second floor office to complain about Powertrac and the pressure to alter numbers. Wolfe asked Jackson to intercede on his behalf by calling Danny Wright, who had by this time been promoted to downtown headquarters. The two had been friends at the Pompano department, but Wright brushed Jackson off.
Two weeks before his suicide, Wolfe and Jackson lunched at an Italian restaurant. "This fucking Powertrac is going to kill me," Wolfe told his friend, who was alarmed and suggested he needed to get out.
Losing a friend like that was tough, and it bothered Jackson all the more when Jenne appeared on the local news deflecting Powertrac as a cause in Wolfe's suicide.
An internal affairs investigation was launched by BSO, and Jackson informed Wright that he wanted to be interviewed. He was never contacted. The conclusion of that report downplayed the role of Powertrac even though the entire affair should have sparked an agencywide look into the integrity of the system.
"I requested to see the sheriff on two occasions," Jackson says. "I was blocked. Nothing happened with my first request. I was given a verbal reprimand the second time."
Jackson, who's black, believes he faced a backlash as a result. He endured retaliation, partly based on race, he claims. He was asked to perform duties that others with his same job title, but who were not black, were not asked to do. The final straw, he says, was being ordered to accompany deputies responding to 911 calls in squad cars, which he balked at doing because he was not a cop and hadn't been trained as one. He filed several complaints alleging harassment on basis of race, but failed to prevail. In early 2005 he was transferred to Lauderdale Lakes, and he knew the end was coming. He was fired in July for insubordination.