After two months of patiently waiting, I finally got my hands on a copy of the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation’s Assessment Report of the North Miami Police Department. As I previously reported, the Commission performed an on-site assessment of the police department from April 19 to April 21, 2016, which resulted in the FAILURE of the NMPD’s state recertification.
Former Police Chief Leonard Burgess publicized the “event” by issuing a press release announcing that “a team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA)” was coming to town on April 19, 2016 and will spend three days examining “all aspects of the North Miami Police Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services.”
Had the North Miami Police Department passed the test, Chief Lenny would have planned a huge staff party and called a press conference to announce what a great job he was doing.
But, since the North Miami Police Department FAILED under his watch, Chief Lenny was sheepishly hoping the whole thing would just quietly go away. He should have known that the bad news wouldn’t escape the attention of the blogger.
Too bad, so sad.
The assessment team consisted of Accreditation Manager Gloria Sepanik of the Punta Gorda Police Department, Sergeant Aaron Grassi of the Clermont Police Department and Lieutenant Brandon Kutner of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the report, the problems began the moment the assessment team entered the building and began to review the department’s files. Team Leader Gloria Sepanik wrote that the assessors “found the files contained multiple file issues which slowed the team’s progress throughout the assessment.”
Instead of maintaining police department files, Lenny was apparently too busy moonlighting at Wal-mart. Decorating cakes.
Although the “assessment team worked with the agency to bring as many of their files into compliance in order to meet accreditation requirements,” it was too time consuming an ordeal and hindered the team “from spending adequate time with personnel and reviewing agency facilities.”
When the assessment team finally was able to meet with staff and review the various units in the North Miami Police Department, they found a multitude of policy FAILURES.
For starters, the assessors’ review of the department’s directive addressing agency approved less-lethal weapons revealed that the NMPD did not require a review process or for an annual inspection “to ensure expiration dates are not exceeded.”
In fact, there isn’t even a line to note expiration dates on the department’s inspection form checklist.
It should be noted that Assistant Chief Larry Juriga is directly responsible for this unit.
In all fairness, Juriga did have more pressing things to deal with.
Even more embarrassing, when an assessor inspected the Taser cartridge of a Field Training Officer it was discovered “that the cartridge had expired in November of 2014.”
The assessment team noted that despite a directive requiring in-service training for officers who carry weapons, “Taser training was not conducted during year 2 of this accreditation cycle.”
For the record, “year 2” happened to be the year 2014 – the same year that Chief Lenny assumed the position.
In fact, even the Taser instructor’s own certificate had EXPIRED!
The assessors’ ultimate determination that the NMPD “was unable to provide documentation (3YD) documenting yearly Taser or OC Spray training” was just icing on the cake.
Moving right along.
Directives regarding the procedures for registering sexual predators, as well as notifying the community, were found to be not in compliance with Florida Statutes.
Not only was it determined that the North Miami Police Department failed to “address the requirement in the standard to refer sexual offenders wishing to move into the municipality to the appropriate registering agency (in this case the MDPD),” but the police department’s directive also referenced “a North Miami City Ordinance which no longer exists.”
When it came to infectious disease training, which was required of all NMPD personnel “prior to assignment where risk of occupational exposure may occur,” again, the FAIL was EPIC!
It seems that a Crime Scene Technician, who was hired in June of 2015 by Chief Lenny, did not receive the proper training until January of 2016.
Furthermore, Hepatitis B vaccines are supposed to be “made available AFTER receipt of infectious training within ten working days of initial assignment.” The Commission found that the same Crime Scene Technician was vaccinated in August of 2015, BEFORE she received the required training.
The assessment team noted that, although the North Miami Police Department has an agency directive that specifically addresses the description, procedure, review and approval of agency directives, there is absolutely no system in place requiring the review of issuing such directives, who is authorized to issue directives, how these directives are disseminated, or “the procedures for storing and archiving agency directives.” The team noted that the NMPD’s written directive stated that it “shall periodically review the Department’s written directives.”
For those unfamiliar with bureau-speak, what this means is:
- There are rules.
- No one knows who makes these rules.
- No one knows where to find the rules.
- No one knows how the troops are informed of the rules.
- But, y’all are expected to follow them.
There were more problems with the police department’s procedures regarding the approval of personally owned firearms, the way photo lineups were handled, and the policy regarding the towing of vehicles.
But those were just minor problems compared to the fiasco in the property and evidence room.
For one thing, the assessors found that “jewelry, money under $1000.00 and drugs not of trafficking weight are comingled with other evidence.”
Obviously, this is a no-no.
The assessors also discovered that of an inventory of over 70,000 pieces of evidence, a grand total of 124 items were audited, and they noted that “during the assessment [Assistant] Chief Juriga advised that a full audit will be scheduled to include all evidence and property.”
I’m sure he’ll get right on it!
The Assessment Report also noted that an inspection of perishable items of evidence, which are supposed to be stored “in secure refrigerated storage,” revealed that there were three conflicting policies in place, one of which “referred to a refrigerator that was no longer in service.”
At this point, it should be hilariously noted that there are two individuals directly responsible for the oversight of the property room.
The first one is Assistant Chief Larry Juriga, who has been lobbying heavily to be second in command ahead of the two new Assistant Chiefs, Neal Cuevas and Robert Bage, despite the fact that every unit under his “leadership” FAILED the accreditation assessment.
In summary, the assessment team literally blasted all the policies that were the responsibility of Assistant Chief Larry Juriga, who reported directly to Chief Lenny, both of whom own the complete and utter FAILURE of the North Miami Police Department’s re-accreditation.
The final assessment report did have a silver lining, however.
In its report, the Commission’s assessment team did take the time to note the exemplary policies in place under the Community Services Section, including the Code Compliance Unit, which was operated under newly appointed Assistant Chief Robert Bage.
The Commission also gave a shout-out to the NMPD’s COPS and Camp Program, the Police Athletic League (PAL), Junior Cadet Program and the Citizen’s Mobile Patrol Volunteer and Chaplain Programs, all of which were overseen by Assistant Chief Bage, and which were the direct responsibility of then-Assistant (and now Chief) Gary Eugene.
Chief Lenny may be gone, but unfortunately, he won’t be forgotten any time soon.
The disaster he left in his wake, with the help of his fellow incompetents, will now have to be cleaned up by Chief Gary Eugene and his brand new Command Staff.
Good thing NMPD’s A-Team is ready to kick ass!
“Spreading the Wealth”