FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Broward Sheriff's Office Sergeant Matthew Baldwin, who was photographed using no restraints to hold down a box on the roof of his patrol car, received a 10-day suspension and lost his take-home car privileges for six months following an internal affairs investigation.
"Poor judgment," said Jeff Marino, the president of the Broward Police Benevolent Association. "It's something that needs to be explained, but there is no explanation."
Baldwin, a 17-year veteran, told internal affairs that the box containing basketball equipment for his children was an impulse buy at Dick's Sporting Goods. The photographs sent to email@example.com showed him driving down State Road 84 near Ikea in Sunrise on July 8. The viewer said his arm was sticking out of the driver's side window, holding the box that rested on top of his car, and the car's emergency lights were activated.
According to an internal affairs report, Baldwin said the box weighed so much that it wasn't going to slide off and that he didn't have rope to tie it down. He said he activated his emergency lights at times because he was driving slowly.
"Bad judgment on my part," he said, according to the report.
"It's severe punishment but it is consistent with what Sheriff [Scott] Israel is doing now. I mean, he gave the guy a second chance," said Marino.
In a previous incident, Baldwin was suspended for five days after he was accused of improperly claiming 177 hours of overtime for more than $12,000, according to an internal affairs report.
"The overtime was three years ago. He did work the OT. There was documentation issues," said Marino. "People can always second guess and Monday morning quarterback, but again, there's almost a four year difference between the overtime issue and this issue."
A professional standards committee reviewed the incidents and didn't recommend termination for Baldwin, said officials with BSO. He works out of Pompano Beach.
In March 2012, a Miami-Dade police officer who was seen carrying a mattress on top of her patrol car was relieved of duty.
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