Opa-Locka, Fl., police officer German Bosque’s personnel file looks more like a rap sheet than a résumé, with 40 cases, says the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Still, he has kept his badge. In Florida, the process of investigating and disciplining police officers and prison guards is flawed at every level, allowing troubled lawmen to return to work after repeated acts of misconduct, a Herald-Tribune investigation found.
Law enforcement agencies around the state employ officers despite cases of serious misconduct in their past, involving everything from violence and perjury to drugs and sexual assault. Many more cases stay hidden because agencies fail to investigate or report complaints thoroughly. When agencies try to rid themselves of problem officers, they often are thwarted by powerful law enforcement unions, which have lobbied to give officers better protections and more opportunities to overturn negative findings. At the same time, the group of state officials that is supposed to be the last line of defense against wayward officers declines chance after chance to strip them of their certifications. No officer exemplifies the system’s failure better than Bosque.