Miami Herald | BSO bagel break broke the rules

BSO admits that Parkland was briefly without a patrol presence while the day shift went noshing together.

When five Parkland deputies were photographed hunched over coffee and bagels at a Coral Springs deli two Saturdays ago, it gave their employer, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, a spot of indigestion.

BSO acknowledged Wednesday that the city of 18,312 was briefly without a patrol presence while the entire day shift, including a sergeant, went noshing together in another town.

… The breakfast was not only a breach of BSO procedures. It was a bad political move.

It came just 13 days after the city police department merged with BSO, the result of a contentious 3-2 City Commission vote. Scores of residents registered loud objections to the merger, some claiming that police protection would suffer.

… Former Parkland commissioner Ricky Gordon, who was voted out of office after supporting the merger, cautioned against overreacting.

”I think they were all close enough that if something happened they could respond,” he said. “People have to realize we’re still in a position of transition. We just got a new chief, David Carey, and we need to give the department a chance to get established.”

… [Jim Leljedal, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office,] said of Strathmore Country Bagel and Deli: “Apparently it’s the place to eat at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. It’s barely a mile out of town, and the rationale was that if there was a call they could easily respond to a call from there. It’s generally a quiet time and, in fact, there were no calls for service.”

Other than watch where you eat when you are on duty, there is another lesson to be learned from the episode, Leljedal said.

”People have to realize that those cellphone cameras are everywhere,” he said. “I plan to use this photo as a lesson during training sessions. You never know who’s watching or has a camera.”