Sheriff Lamberti Needs To Bring Justice To Favorites, Upper Brass | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Sheriff Lamberti Needs To Bring Justice To Favorites, Upper Brass

So the Broward Sheriff's Office arrested three jail guards on charges they helped bring contraband into the jail. The mugs of the correction officers were published at the top of the Local section of the Sun-Sentinel with the words: "Inquiry focuses on contraband and sex at a county jail."

One of the two female arrestees apparently had sex with an inmate and brought him some contraband of some kind. The male arrested gave an inmate a cell phone, according to the article.

Obviously we can't have that kind of thing going on and if it's true, get them out of the department and put them on probation or something. But Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti better use the same swiftness and sureness in the double-dipping case involving some members of the upper brass.

An internal BSO audit found all kinds of wrongdoing involving BSO's special detail program that allows deputies to do outside security work for companies and individuals. We all saw the dangers of this kind of work with Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, who made a mockery of both BSO and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department with his close ties to officials in both agencies. Rothstein of course had a slew of police working "protection" for him while he was busy committing the biggest crime in town.

The audit story, broken by South Florida Times' Elgin Jones, hasn't gotten much play in the mainstream yet. It was broken by Elgin Jones of the South Florida Times. Basically the audit found that numerous deputies, including high-ranking ones, were double-dipping from the detail program, which was found to be poorly supervised and fraught with cronyism.

(Cronyism in a police department? What a shock.)  

Some collected outside pay while they apparently should have been on the BSO clock. This from the report by BSO Auditor Maria Fernandez.

"During our work, we noted that nine District Chiefs/Captains worked Special Details. While six of them worked less than 200 hours/year, there was one that worked slightly more than 300 hours and two that worked over 600 hours (billing over $25,000 each). One District Chief consistently works a 4:00 pm Friday detail. This same Chief worked 8.5 hour and one 9 hour detail on two different Thursdays, starting at 2 pm, although he did not take any type of personal leave on those days."

The audit also found rampant abuse of sick

time: "There were 85 employees, accounting for 135 instances for a total of 973 personal sick time hours paid by BSO while they were working Special Details."  

And a slew of deputies were violating policy by working more than 30 hours a week in details. From the Fernandez's report: "Of those in violation of the 30 hours/week cap, 59 were Deputies, 5 were Sergeants, 3 were Lieutenants and 1 was a reservist. Additionally, those individuals exceeding the 30 hours/week cap also received an additional $424,159 in overtime compensation."

More than thirty hours a week over their regular duty? What are these, robocops? Plug them in and watch them run. It's ridiculous. I'm surprised we don't see these guys sleeping in their cars all over town.

The limit, if your're going to allow details at all, should be maybe half that, 15 hours, which still amounts to an average of three hours a day. And maybe these guys need to work a little harder to earn the paycheck we pay them if they can go out and work what amounts to nearly another full-time job.

Think of those two district chiefs/captains who worked over 600 hours extra for the year, earning an extra $25,000 a year. These are high-level managers responsible for our safety overseeing large numbers of deputies. And they are working the equivalent of 15 weeks of work on their own.

The public deserves better and Lamberti owes us a criminal investigation. If taxpayers' money has been stolen, then those deputies need to pay.

Of course that won't necessarily mean anything either. Look at how long Lamberti's been investigating Rothstein's buddy and his former special executive officer, Lt. Dave Benjamin. Or the complete lack of an investigation into his Undersheriff Tom Wheeler, who also associated heavily with Rothstein and took a jet trip with him to New York. Lamberti has shown himself to be adept at playing politics and playing favorites. What he needs to do is start playing fair with the force.