Palm Beach County's Cops-in-Schools Program Leads to a Love Story on This American Life | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Palm Beach County's Cops-in-Schools Program Leads to a Love Story on This American Life

Last year, Palm Beach County school district police sent rookie officers into schools to pose as students, eventually busting 30 kids, mostly for selling small amounts of drugs. The kids faced expulsion, and most were over 18 and would be charged as adults. There go the hopes and dreams. Thanks, drug war and questionable policing ethics!

The cops' deceptions had some real human fallout -- 25-year-olds posing as high school kids is a dangerous proposition.

Atlanta-based reporter Robbie Brown, working for the public radio show This American Life, found a love story in the chaos. 

Yesterday's show featured the theme of "What I did for love," and one of them told the story of a Park Vista Community High School student named Justin, who was a senior on the honor roll with no criminal record. 

"And Justin could hardly believe his luck when a very pretty new girl -- everyone had noticed her -- showed up in not just one but two of his classes."

Her fake name was Naomi Rodriguez, says Justin. She said she was from New York. So was he.

"She was Puerto Rican and Dominican, and that caught me even more," says Justin, who began speaking and flirting with her in Spanish.

Eventually, after passively rejecting Justin's invitation to the prom, Naomi begged and pleaded with him to get her some marijuana. When he finally slipped some into her purse, she insisted on giving him cash. Then the crime was complete.

"She would sleep in class, she wouldn't do her homework," he recalls. "I would have to wake her up all the time." He let her copy his homework too.

She spoke with the program as well and said that she didn't remember leading him on about the prom and that she stands behind the police work because kids need to learn a lesson.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph

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