But when it comes to crimes against high-profile football players in the town where the Dolphins train every year, authorities are spiffier than the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The 'Pipe is thinking of the case of Redmond Burns, a 25-year-old Davie man whose minor scuffles with the law have included misdemeanor charges for possession of alcohol under age, disorderly conduct, and failing to display a diver-down flag.
Just before midnight on Sunday, April 30, Burns went all road-rage on the wrong man: Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, who happens to be a Davie resident. The NFL star encountered Burns at State Road 84 and Flamingo Road. Burns was in a red Ford pickup truck, backing into the intersection and about to hit Taylor's car. Taylor honked. Burns stopped. A few minutes later, after Burns allegedly tried to run Taylor off the road, the automobile relationship became personal.
Burns jumped out of his truck and banged on Taylor's trunk, according to the police report. "I'm going to fuckin' kill you," Burns reportedly yelled, allegedly complementing his threat with a few choice racial epithets.
Seemingly less afraid of the six-foot-six, 255-pound Taylor than half of the badasses in professional football, the crazed Burns coming in at a modest Doug Flutie-sized five-foot-11, 160 pounds allegedly grabbed Taylor by the shirt, ripped it, and then ran back to his truck to get "an unknown metal object." Burns stabbed at Taylor, causing a minor flesh wound on the arm, then fled the scene. No record of how Taylor defended himself (could have been with one of his patented spin maneuvers before dropkicking Burns into the back of his Ford).
If all this is true, Burns is one ugly punk. Perhaps more amazing than Burns' willingness to attack a man twice his size, though, is the way the Davie police sprang into action.
Just a few hours after the altercation, according to the police report, Davie police showed Taylor a picture lineup, and he identified Burns as the attacker. Police staked out Burns' mobile home and made the arrest a few hours later.
All in a day's law work, of course.
Well, not quite. Davie police responded to this incident faster than you could say Ricky Williams end-around, says one veteran Broward sheriff's deputy with long years of street enforcement on his résumé. "If this were you or me, we'd be lucky to talk to a detective next week," he says.
Davie police won't talk about the case, saying the investigation is ongoing. Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for the Broward State Attorney's Office, confirmed that his office has received the charges from Davie. Police are charging Burns with aggravated battery as a hate crime and resisting arrest. Davie police are also seeking to seize Burns' truck something police generally do only in drug-related crimes.
Joel Cantor, the Hollywood Police Department's in-house attorney who also handles legal issues for the Davie Police Department as part of a $75-per-hour private contract, did not return repeated calls for comment.
Tailpipe's advice for future malefactors: Avoid the pro athletes, and concentrate on juicier targets, like Davie's vulnerable public coffers.
When it comes to strange bedfellows, no pairing would seem more unlikely than Gov. Jeb Bush's wife, Columba, and Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. The two own a house together in Margate. Seriously. Just look it up on the Broward County Property Appraiser's website. It's at 6835 NW 11th Ct., and it's assessed at $130,000.
A secret love nest? The rewards of a program to commandeer drug lords' property and turn it over to top public officials and/or their wives? Maybe a safe house for Iranian expatriates who are helping Republicans plan their next invasion? Tailpipe could only hope.
Alas, it turned out to be not as intriguing as all that. The house was deeded over to Bush, Chertoff, former Florida Senate President John McKay, and a couple of Massachusetts' officials by a husband who was losing the home in a bitter divorce.
Apparently, those illustrious "owners" didn't even know they had themselves that piece of Broward property.
"I assure you I don't own a house in Margate," McKay told Tailpipe. "I don't think I've been there since 1973."
Gary Bowen, who now lives in Massachusetts, signed over the house last year, alleging all kinds of things against his estranged wife, including fraud and ties to terrorists. Broward Circuit Judge Susan Greenhawt has decided that the wife, one Kim Moore, is in the right here. She has nullified the deed and authorized Moore to sell the property. Tailpipe heard a rumor that a married, highly placed White House staffer and well-known Florida madam have made a bid on it. He's got his finger crossed.
Gays Versus Ex-Gays
Only in South Florida, only in the 21st Century. In the shadow of the towering white spire of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church a couple of Saturdays ago, Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" Conference was wrapping up a long day of lectures and seminars postulating "the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable" when a crowd of gay priests and boys in dresses showed up to make a point of their own.
Setting up a picket line on the sidewalk, the protesters waved signs with slogans like "I'm Gay, It's OK, Ask Me!" and "I Love My Gay Child."
Was the world about to end? Tailpipe watched the scene holding his breath.
"It's not affecting us at all," said one of the Love Won Out-ers, a woman in a blue business suit, standing in the church door. "They're just trying to get attention. We're here praying for them."
Nearby, a short woman named Sophia called across the parking lot: "I love my son but don't love his sins!"
"Wow. They're freaks," said a strapping 17-year-old youth. "I wish I had a paintball gun." He mimed firing a sweeping barrage of paintballs at the line of protesters over the hedge.
He pulled out a camera phone to take pictures of the marchers and gestured toward two women walking with a sign. "Now, that one's hot. How is she a lesbian?" He walked up to the marchers to snap a photo. Upon returning, he grumped: "She's definitely a lesbian she didn't even look at me."
Across the gay/ex-gay divide, the parade of marchers was fine-tuning its signage. "Everybody takes a turn with the signs," one organizer ordered. One departing woman offered her "I Love My Gay Child" sign to a lesbian couple.
"Oh, we don't have children," they demurred.
"It's OK I don't have kids either," she replied.
One of the protesters, a pale man with short curly hair wearing a dress and lipstick, waved coquettishly. "We love you guys!" he cried.
The confrontation had less vitriolic energy than your average pickup softball game. Tailpipe, who needs vitriolic energy like a drug, went back to the garage to take a nap.
As told to Edmund Newton