You know things are wacky in Florida when news of criminality continues to be about the cops rather than the robbers.
The latest Keystone Kops-like episode came when an off-duty cop was discovered passed out and drunk in his patrol car, the Miami-Dade, Fla., police department told local media.
And it gets worse: Instead of being cuffed and booked, Fernando Villa, 32, was allowed to go home after signing a form promising he would appear in court, the Miami Herald reported.
The DUI incident is the latest in a string of embarrassments to hit Miami-area law enforcement.
According to the Miami Times, Miami Beach cop Derick Kuilan nearly killed two people in July after allegedly plowing into them on his police ATV while taking a woman for a boozy late-night joyride. He was fired and is awaiting trial on reckless driving and DUI charges.
And then there was the November feud between Miami Police and the Florida Highway Patrol that culminated in one trooper getting his patrol car smeared with human feces.
The latest incident, the Herald said, has now led to an internal affairs investigation as to why supervisors on the scene allowed Villa to avoid jail, an apparent violation of department policy.
“Someone along the line decided to depart from my specific directions,’’ Miami-Dade Police Director John Loftus told the paper Thursday." We’re going to discover the identity of the person or persons and hold them accountable.”
Villa has been relieved of duty with pay as investigators probe the incident.
Another Miami-Dade officer, the Herald said, found Villa’s idling patrol car on Tuesday evening with the policeman dressed in shorts and a T-shirt.
Superiors were summoned, the Herald quoted department officials, and Loftus was telephoned. When explained the situation, Loftus said he ordered Villa be booked and arrested.
Under department policy, “promise to appear” notices are given in lieu of a physical arrest only for low-level misdemeanors, not felonies or DUIs.
The Herald said it was unclear Thursday who drove Villa home or who made the decision to allow him leave.