Friday, August 8, 2008

You can't make this kind of stuff up...

Dateline: Beaumont, Texas (where things can get Hunter S. Thompson weird in a big hurry).

Several months ago, Beaumont PD conducted a vice investigation into a couple of local 'massage parlors'. Standard vice op: u/c officers go in a few times (well, six times). They make the case: It's $60 for the massage, plus a $100 'tip' for the happy ending. A judge signs a search warrant. They all stage up (giving the media time to respond to the scene, naturally) and make the bust on May 7, 2008.

But wait, there's more.

As the tale unfolds, in a planned multi-month investigation, the officers endeavored to make felony cases for promotion of prostitution rather than the usual misdemeanor busts. To do so, the u/c officers went in and actually engaged in sex acts. As articles in the local papers recounted the tale, the officer consulted with his spouse in advance to ensure it would not interfere with domestic harmony; BPD command staff were fully involved in the operational planning, and these guys were operating as directed, on city time and on the city's dime.

Somewhere along the way, the investigation gets cut short. To u/c officers were terminated. Two supervisors were suspended for several days, and two additional involved officers received reprimands. The felony cases against the suspects ended up being filed as misdemeanors. Just to make things all the worse, one of the defendants now claims the u/c officer was her 'boyfriend'. (Right...Look at the pictures, and you be the judge.)

The Chief of Police and City Manager have both upheld the terminations. Civil litigation has already been filed by one of the officers.

Morals of the story:
  • CYA, folks. Get it in writing and save a copy of the op plan.
  • Whether its TMPA, CLEAT, FOP, or whomever--get yourself covered.

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