Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, April 25, 2005

It Looks Like Misleading America was Just a Small Step Up for Ken Jenne.

(h/t to American Drumslinger for the lead)

Very shortly after I started this blog I became incensed at a CNN piece that was apparently orchestrated by Broward County, Florida Sheriff Ken Jenne. It was done either with the willing and knowing cooperation of CNN correspondent John Zarella and his editors, or it was done taking advantage of the cluelessness of Zarella, et al.. This piece was the source of several posts, all about the Lying News Media. (Just to be up front, I don't think anybody's that ignorant. Zarella and/or his editors were willing accomplices, in my opinion.) The central post on this was a transcript of a piece the NRA produced shortly after CBS aired their "FEAR ASSAULT WEAPONS!" story, which I titled The Lying "News" Media, Part II. I still get pissed thinking about it.

Regardless of CNN's complicity, I concluded right then that Sheriff Jenne was a lying sack unworthy of his office.

It looks like some other people are beginning to agree with me. It seems that the good Sheriff has done some illegal side work for the County. The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel has named him "Kevlar Ken".

It all started out with allegations of, well, let me quote:
Jenne, as we all know, is at the heart of one of the largest law enforcement scandals in Florida history. His underlings, while using a crime-reporting system called PowerTrac, falsified hundreds of affidavits and made up countless confessions. Why? To make it look as if the sheriff's office was clearing a whole lot more cases than it really was. The State Attorney's Office has been investigating for more than a year and has charged two deputies in the case so far.

The sheriff, who benefited politically from the rampant fraud, has been saying the PowerTrac mess was all a big shock to him. He's also claiming full responsibility for the scandal. Yet even after the arrests and the announcement that four high-ranking officers are stepping down, he remains in office.

Where's the responsibility in that?

But that isn't sleazy enough for Jenne, a long-time politician who had no police training before Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed him top cop in 1998. The man has the gall to use the scandal to grossly enrich one of his cronies, lobbyist Tom Panza. Last fall, the sheriff hired Panza at $250 an hour to cover up -- er, I mean, investigate -- the BSO scandal. Panza, whose Fort Lauderdale law firm has been paid $300,000 for its work so far, told the Sun-Sentinel that he hadn't found "one scintilla of evidence" that Jenne had done anything wrong.
Oh HO! A "long-time politician who had no police training" before being appointed Sheriff? I didn't know that! Read the whole piece, it's quite damning. Then there's this piece:
Two deputies are accused falsifying police reports to make it look as if they solved more crimes than they really did.

But records released Monday show the problem is more widespread, and that Sheriff Ken Jenne himself may have known about it all along.

"I should have been more inquisitive and I initially underestimated the scope and complexity of this problem," Jenne said.

Jenne admitted to reporters last month that his agency's remarkable record of solving crime is bogus.

But the records released today show Jenne knew there was a widespread problem five years ago.

John Degroot, a former confidant of Jenne, told prosecutors that a consultant for BSO's controversial "Power Track" program recommended in 1999 that the sheriff look closely at the way his deputies were clearing cases.

Prosecutors asked Degroot if he thought, "the root cause of this entire problem goes all the way to the top of the agency?"

Degroot replied, "Having known the sheriff for 31 years, he ain't stupid."
Well, there's stupid, and then there's "They'll never catch me!" stupid. And there's apparently more than just two deputies involved, and it was standard operating procedure. Here's the killer quote from that last piece:
For years, the Sheriff's Office reported crime clearance rates that were two and three times the national average.
But what's gotten Jenne in real hot water isn't the record falsification, it's his apparent violation of laws prohibiting department personnel from working in side jobs that involve government contracts. Investigation into that has revealed that Jenne apparently made about $60k as an officer of a company that has done subcontract work for the Sheriff's Dept.
Jenne filed financial disclosure forms last year showing he made almost $60,000 in 2003 from two firms, Havloc LLC and Knodishall LLC. He partnered in Havloc with undersheriff Tom Carney and Lt. Col. Thomas Brennan. Carney and Brennan are in the process of leaving the Sheriff's Office.

Jenne said the firms had a single client, T&M Protection Resources of New York, a security firm that, in the words of its Web site, caters to "prestigious corporate, financial, institutional and private high net-worth clients."

Jenne, citing a confidentiality agreement, has declined to say what they did for T&M or if the work had a South Florida angle.

He has declined to answer further questions, a curious stance for someone who has trumpeted openness during his seven years as sheriff.

But the questions keep piling up. The latest involve whether Jenne, Carney and Brennan violated Sheriff's Office policy.

According to section 3.16.1 D 4 of the 2002 policy and procedures manual, the last full manual published, employees are prohibited from working in "businesses that involve ... (d) private guard services ... (g) bodyguards or similar duties ... (h) private enterprises which may bring BSO into dispute with the public or cause the potential for a conflict of interest."

From its Web site, we know T&M is involved in (d) and (g). Without knowing the nature of the work and possible South Florida links, it's hard to know if Jenne, Carney and Brennan violated (h).

Nothing like setting a good example for the troops.
It goes even deeper:
(T)wo probes have focused not only on Jenne's consulting business but also are determining whether he and BSO detectives passed information to T&M executives from the Hollywood police's investigation into the 2002 shooting of Seminole tribal lawyer Jim Shore.

T&M paid almost $60,000 to Jenne's firm in 2003 to assess the Seminole Tribe's police department before the opening of its Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood last year, The Herald has learned.

As T&M's security contract with the tribe was about to expire, the firm expressed concern that its police department was ill-equipped to deal with crimes that might arise from a Las Vegas-type casino operation.

T&M turned to BSO to help craft an assessment of the tribe's police department. T&M met with Jenne's top commanders, working as consultants for Havloc, and asked them to prepare a report on the capabilities of the tribe's police department. The commanders wrote a report on how to revamp the force, according to sources.

But Carney and Brennan, through BSO's (spokesperson, Cheryl) Stopnick, said Wednesday that they never did any consulting work for T&M and never received any income from Havloc.

The Herald also reported on Wednesday that a Coral Springs security company hired Jenne's company, paying it $4,000 last year to develop training courses for the Royal Barbados Police Force.

Innovative Surveillance Technology Inc., a vendor that has sold about $230,000 in equipment and training services to BSO during the past five years, was Havloc's second client. That contradicted Jenne's earlier statements that his consulting company only had one client, T&M.

Jenne's business relationship with Innovative raises further conflict-of-interest questions for him because he recommend his consulting firm to the vendor. State ethics laws bar him from doing that. No elected official can do private business with a company that sells products or services to his government agency.

Gov. Jeb Bush has directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Jenne.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Oh, and he adamantly opposed Florida's recently passed, waiting to be signed, "Protection of Persons and Property" bill, saying that it could lead to accidental shootings and puts too much discretion in the hands of individuals,' according to The Miami Herald, which also opposed the bill.

Why am I not surprised?

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