Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cooper City in the News...Again

Cooper City in the news…again

As you may or may not be aware, Cooper City has been recently battling a drug problem in our town. More particularly, we have been battling a certain pharmacy at the corner of Stirling Road and Palm Avenue that is sometimes labeled as a ‘pain clinic’. The Commission recently passed a law to deal with these types of pain clinics and illegal drug issues, along with the Florida Legislature. Kudos to both entities for strengthening our local drug laws!

Why am I blogging this? Because of this Sun-Sentinel newspaper article. This week I received an e-mail from our city manager regarding a previous newspaper article posted on the Sun-Sentinel website regarding a drug bust on July 23rd. The e-mail was forwarded to me by the city manager which emanated from the BSO public relations office.

Not knowing about, or being informed as to what the issue was, I searched the online version of the newspaper and found nothing. I subsequently asked the city manager what newspaper article he was referring to, which is when I was told that the article was promptly removed from the Sun-Sentinel website. Nothing further was thought about regarding this incident. It was simply an incident and drug bust between two Cooper City residents and BSO police officers in my opinion.

Let me give you a bit of additional information on this case. Last week, this story was on the Sun-Sentinel website for about 10 or 15 minutes before it was taken off. You may ask, why was it removed from the website? Apparently, because the complaint was originally made by the public defender’s office against a BSO deputy and not the alleged criminal.

The only problem was that the alleged criminal had not yet made any complaint to anyone other than the public defender’s office, and BSO had no knowledge of the issue before it went to press, therefore not having the opportunity to comment before the story was hastily posted on the Sun-Sentinel website. I have no idea if the complaint is legitimate or not, but I thought it was interesting that the Sun Sentinel would name someone as a drug dealer suspect without any hard evidence, or at that time, even a complaint.

I discussed this issue with Chief Hale on the phone this week in detail, and again at our budget meeting on Monday evening. I initially asked Chief Hale what the issue was all about and he informed me that it was about a drug bust, and that “the father” (allegedly Mr. Ronald Dwayne Sigers Sr., 40, of Cooper City) allegedly drove his 16 year old son to a drug deal and was subsequently arrested. I was also informed that the entire issue was based on the fact that that the suspect, Mr. Sigers, subsequently complained that the BSO officer grabbed him by the crotch. The Chief also informed me that originally, there was no mention of this incident or any complaint lodged by the alleged suspect; Mr. Sigers, until last Thursday.

Whenever the police arrest and subsequently frisk someone, they have to check their crotch, as this is the first place that drugs and weapons are hidden by criminals. It's not a pleasant thing to do, but it is an absolute necessity of police work and it is absolutely necessary in order for police officers to save their own lives. With that said, most of you would not even want to get near or even touch the alleged criminals that the police sometimes encounter, much less check their pants for dope and guns.

The formal complaint came apparently after the news of another BSO Deputy being charged with sexual assault was reported in the Sun-Sentinel, and hit the airwaves on CBS 4. Mr. Sigers filed a complaint of the un-named deputy ‘fondling’ Mr. Sigers and grabbing his crotch. I see a new trend…Getting arrested for a crime and subsequently claiming to be groped in the crotch by the police in the hopes of getting the charges dismissed.

Chief Hale also told me that someone from the state attorney's office contacted the Sun-Sentinel, not only discussing this incident with them, but giving the newspaper much more detail than was necessary on this matter before BSO was even aware of the incident.

My first question is why wasn’t the complaint filed immediately upon booking, and secondly, why did the state attorney contact the newspaper and give them information on this case, and thirdly, why did the state attorney say anything about this case to anyone outside of the immediate investigation team in the first place? The state attorney involved in this matter should be reprimanded for interfering with a criminal investigation at best.

"Because Mr. Sigers wrote a letter to the State Attorney, and the [Sun-] Sentinel forwarded a copy to us, Sheriff [Al] Lamberti felt that we should initiate an internal investigation to bring out all the facts," BSO said. "Since that process has started we are now prohibited from further discussing the matter." According to the Sun-Sentinel, Mr. Sigers stated in his letter to the State Attorney that "This experience left me horrified…"

I am not prohibited from discussing this matter, and what I have to say is this…

Mr. Sigers, your alleged drug deal in our beautiful city leaves me and many, many other parents, residents, business owners and children horrified!

A complete lack of discretion, and respect for our city and the law has again tarnished our good name. Now we have to apparently witness a deliberate and apparently frivolous attempt to tarnish the reputation of our fine police officers. Police officers who routinely risk their lives fighting gun toting drug dealers, who are simply doing their job, who are simply protecting their very lives and that of our children and families against criminals, drug dealers and possible carriers of weapons when they make an arrest. As such, in Cooper City, we have zero-tolerance for drug dealers. I hope that if anyone dealing drugs in Cooper City is ever found guilty and convicted, they throw away the key…

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