How Florida Sheriff Got Into Case-Clearance Mess


With a new crime-tracking computer system, the Broward, Fl., Sheriff’s Office (BSO) wanted to launch a new policy to ensure the agency was properly clearing thousands of burglary cases, says the Miami Herald. BSO got permission from the state Department of Law Enforcement officials to go ahead, but local prosecutors refused. BSO went ahead anyway.

Now, prosecutors and the state are investigating allegations that BSO deputies falsified hundreds of crime reports after the agency adopted that new policy in May 2000. Prosecutors told the sheriff that they would not be “involved in any kind of process, formal or otherwise, of clearing cases en masse,” office spokesman Ron Ishoy said. In one instance, the sheriff’s office improperly cleared 58 cases, attributing the crimes to a man who was sitting behind bars at the time the crimes occurred. The late Jack Maple, who advised on creation of the system, warned the sheriff to be careful about the use of exceptional clearances — cases solved, or “cleared,” without making an arrest or seeking criminal charges.


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