To Protect and Deceive

By | May 29th, 2011 | 1 Comment

With Rick Scott in the Governor’s Mansion, we are in a decisively uninnovative era in Florida history (low-speed rail anyone?). So I suppose it’s some consolation that the state’s criminals are picking up the slack. Quoth “Criminals in Police Clothing” in Saturday’s New York Times: “In South Florida, seemingly an incubator of law-breaking innovation, police impersonators have become better organized and, most troubling to law enforcement officials, more violent.”

How’s that for thinking outside the cell? In all seriousness, this is something any credulous Miamian without a copy of Straight Outta Compton in regular rotation should be aware of. An excerpt from the NYT article:

As long as police officers have worn uniforms and carried badges, criminals have dressed like them to try to win the trust of potential victims. Now the impersonators are far more sophisticated, according to nearly a dozen city police chiefs and detectives across the country.

In South Florida, seemingly an incubator of law-breaking innovation, police impersonators have become better organized and, most troubling to law enforcement officials, more violent. The practice is so common that the Miami-Dade Police Department has a Police Impersonator Unit.

Since the unit was established in 2007, it has arrested or had encounters with more than 80 phony officers in Miami-Dade County, and the frequency has increased in recent months, said Lt. Daniel Villanueva, who heads the unit.

“It’s definitely a trend,” Lieutenant Villanueva said. “They use the guise of being a police officer to knock on a door, and the victim lowers their guard for just a second. At that point, it’s too late.”

Cuidado Miami. Things just got more confusing.

Follow Beached Miami on Twitter (@beachedmiami) and Facebook.