Davie police chief resigns after allegations he blamed deputy’s COVID-19 death on homosexuality

The Florida State Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to the Town of Davie's administrator about remarks allegedly made by Davie Police Chief Dale Engle. (WPLG)

DAVIE, Fla. – The Davie police chief who suggested that a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy’s death from COVID-19 was linked to his sexuality has announced his resignation.

In a resignation letter obtained by Local 10 News, Dale Engle writes that after 22 years with the department, his last day will be Sept. 3.

“To say that I have been privileged to proudly serve this Town is an understatement. I will cherish the past two plus decades of life and work experiences that have helped define my character, life purpose and ultimately developed me into who I am today,” Engle writes in the letter. “I have been fortunate to have been a member of one of the noblest of professions and have nothing but respect for the pride and professionalism that everyone within the Town of Davie demonstrates every day.”

In April, Engle was placed on administrative leave as the city investigated claims made in a letter from the Fraternal Order of Police to Davie’s town manager, detailing an incident after officers expressed concerns about their protection from coronavirus while on the job.

The letter said Engle “chose to instead retaliate against our members ... ordering them to the parking lot and into formation (like cadets back in the patrol academy).” It also said that Engle allegedly berated them and said that BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett contracted and died from the virus because he was a “homosexual who attended homosexual ‘sexual’ events.”

Bennett was a Deerfield Beach Elementary School Resource Officer who died in early April from complications of COVID-19.

Bennett’s fiancee Jonathan Frey at the time called Engle’s alleged comments “false, homophobic, and slanderous.”