Two detectives with the Fort Lauderdale Street Crimes Unit -- known as the "Northwest Raiders" -- were arrested Thursday on charges of kidnapping, extortion, racketeering, false imprisonment, and several counts each of grand theft and falsifying official records. From the State Attorney's Office:
The Broward State Attorney’s Office, working in collaboration with the FBI and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, filed arrest warrants Thursday charging two Fort Lauderdale police officers with 15 criminal counts each, including racketeering, kidnapping, grand theft, extortion and official misconduct.
Officers Brian Christopher Dodge and Billy Charles Koepke turned themselves in at the Broward County Jail Thursday night.
According to documents filed with the Broward County Clerk of the Courts, officers Dodge and Koepke were involved in an “ongoing pattern of criminal conduct” that focused on stealing money and pills from patrons of pain clinics.
The officers would conduct traffic stops with or without probable cause and often out of their jurisdiction in order to search the occupants for money and/or pills, the documents state. If they found that the occupants of the vehicle possessed a large amount of cash, they would fabricate criminal charges if necessary in order to steal a portion of the money and pills.
Once the victim was arrested, whether lawfully or not, Dodge and Koepke would keep a portion of the money and pills and put a portion of the money and pills into evidence to conceal their unlawful activity.
Koepke is pictured above. The Raiders, formed in 1983 to go after crack dealers, have long been a source of controversy in the black community around Sistrunk Boulevard.
To see the charges and bond information (and their mug shots) click here and here.
-- At the Broward County School Board it's long been common for those in charge to bash auditors when they come out with reports of wrongdoing.
Remember the AshBritt case? There auditors found that the company overcharged the district by hundreds of thousands of dollars after Hurricane Wilma. Instead of going after the money, the school board, led by since-arrested Stephanie Kraft, went after the auditors, criticizing their efforts.
But that seems to finally be changing. When auditors found numerous problems with a $5 million maintenance project investigated by Local 10, schools construction chief Tom Lindner reacted by arguing with the auditors.
When the report was discussed at an audit meeting last week, committee members scolded Lindner for his reaction and the negative culture they said he was fostering. Now the state's chief school auditor has called out Lindner as well.
Greg White, the director of auditing for the Florida Department of Education, wrote to Broward schools auditor Pat Reilly: "I met with our Office of Educational Facilities today to discuss the audit report. They had no substantive changes to recommend and were mostly surprised at Mr. Lindner’s comments which they thought were unnecessarily argumentative."
Remember, this is the same Lindner who has filed a bullying complaint against school whistleblower Michael Marchetti, who was the first person to point out the problems with the maintenance building project. We should hear more about that case soon.