When Scott Jordan joined the Broward County, FL, Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 1999, he quickly learned how to clear criminal cases to make the numbers look better, says the Miami Herald. Deputies were told by their superiors to falsify documents, fabricate confessions, and downgrade crimes, Jordan and others say, to make BSO more attractive to taxpayers and cities that pay the agency for policing. Sheriff Ken Jenne vowed ”a wave of discipline” after he announced in February 2004 that the Broward State Attorney’s Office was investigating a crime-reporting scandal in his agency. An investigation by Broward prosecutors and a sheriff’s internal probe revealed a widespread scandal that implicated dozens of deputies and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Two years later, only a handful of low-level deputies have been charged or fired. Many say they were following orders from bosses who signed off on the falsified reports, but face no punishment to date. ”Everyone wants to point the finger at us,” said Jordan, who is cooperating with prosecutors. “We’re the lowest of the rank and file, but the reality is that it came from the top.” Tom Panza, a politically connected Broward attorney and longtime friend of Jenne who was hired to conduct an internal investigation, says he has found no evidence of anyone above the rank of detective involved in the scandal. ”The sheriff is anxious to proceed forward with discipline for anyone involved and we will pursue anyone, it doesn’t matter what their rank is,” said a spokesman.