Broward, Fl., Sheriff Ken Jenne has overhauled his agency, capping a year of turmoil and scandal over its systematic manipulation of crime statistics, the Miami Herald reports. Four of the sheriff’s command staff — trusted members of his inner circle — are out. Twenty-nine detectives and sergeants have been transferred, mostly to the road patrol. A controversial accountability system known as Powertrac — which many critics have said encouraged deputies to “cook the books” by underreporting crimes and closing cases through fraudulent means — will be dramatically changed. The shake-up came after last week’s filing of criminal charges against two of Jenne’s deputies in connection with the crime reporting scandal. More cases are anticipated.
The scandal involves deputies’ taking crime complaints, such as burglaries and car break-ins, from crime victims only to misreport them as noncriminal “suspicious incidents” to make the crime rate appear lower than it actually is. Also, many criminal cases were “closed” by blaming them on people who could not have committed the crimes. Critics have called Powertrac accountability sessions inquisitions. District chiefs and their top aides appear before Jenne and his command staff and are grilled about their ability — or inability — to lower crime rates. The questioning, with the chief at the head of the room under bright lights, could be harsh and withering.