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Photo caption: Deputy Eric Bienkievitz (center) is presented with a special tee-shirt from (l. to r.) Deputy Director Leonard Burgess, Corporal Yolanda Copeland, Detective D. Joseph and District Chief Marc Duguay.

Saturday, January 24, 2009 is a day Deputy Eric Bienkievitz will never forget. The seven-year BSO veteran was providing a law enforcement motor escort for a multi-agency Make-A-Wish benefit ride when a careless driver failed to come to a stop. He was struck and knocked onto a swale along I-95. Thankfully, Deputy Bienkievitz’s injuries were not life threatening, but he sustained deep lacerations to his hands and suffered a fractured ankle.

The benefit ride, which was coordinated by Corporal Yolanda Copeland from Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitiation, raised more than $6,000 to send terminally-ill child and his family to Disney World in Orlando. In an effort to show their appreciation, Miami-Dade Deputy Director Leonard Burgess, Corporal Copeland and Detective D. Joseph visited Deputy Bienkievitz during roll coll at the Tamarac District Office. There they thanked him for his service and presented him with a signed tee-shirt from all particpants from the event. “I worked on motors too,” said Deputy Director Burgess. “There is no doubt angels were there with you that day, to protect you and make sure you made it home safe to your family.” As Deputy Bienkievitz accepted his gift, he was met with a round of applause from his BSO colleagues. His road to recovery will take some time, but with the support of his family and friends, Deputy Bienkievitz will be back on his motorcycle in no time.

BSO Helps Hispanics

February 12, 2009

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Sheriff Lamberti, Director Michael Somberg, and Commander Michael Calderin present an LETF check to the board of directors of Hispanic Unity of Florida at their quarterly meeting which was held at Apollo Middle School. The $50,000.00 LETF grant will be used to fund a Teens for Teens Prevention/Intervention program coordinated by Hispanic Unity of Florida. The program is based at Apollo Middle School, Hollywood, Florida.

The HUF board of directors also presented the Sheriff Lamberti and the men and women of BSO with an award for our ongoing support of community programs run by the Hispanic Unity of Florida.

Dunkin Dollars

February 12, 2009

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Due to the hard work and investigative efforts led by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and participating law enforcement agencies in the recent homicide and string of armed robberies, Dunkin Brands, Inc. decided to donate funds to crime prevention programs in South Florida to combat ongoing problems. Broward Crime Stoppers received $10,000.00 earmarked for the BSO GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program coordinated by YIED under Captain Nesteruk. An additional $1,000.00 was donated to Broward Crime Stoppers to sponsor a table at their annual ball. And $5,000.00 was donated to the South Florida Crime Commission to disperse amongst law enforcement agencies in Palm Beach and Broward counties as needed.

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Sheriff Al Lamberti accepted a check for more than $128,000 Thursday from Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

The money was BSO’s portion of a 2008 settlement with Aon, a national insurance broker that allegedly improperly collected fees or commissions with more than 45 public entities in Florida.

Those city and county governments, school boards and  economic development councils will all receive a portion of the $2.6 million settlement.

Sheriff Lamberti thanked Attorney General McCollum for being a “watchdog” over the taxpayers’ money. He said he would put the money to good use in the sheriff’s office.

“These aren’t just numbers on a check,” Sheriff Lamberti said. “This is six, brand new fully-equipped patrol cars. It’s 50 AEDs (automatic external defibrillators). That’s how I look at it.”

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The danger of child predators trolling the internet has captured local and national headlines, and Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives helping protect those kids earned a local TV station a major accolade.

In the fall of 2007, the BSO Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) gave the Spanish language TV Station Telemundo 51 exclusive access to the “Home Alone III” Investigation, an undercover operation where detectives posed as juveniles on social networking sites.  The detectives logged in and created the computer profiles of young boys and girls, and were contacted time and time again by adult men soliciting them for inappropriate sexual encounters.  In just one week “Home Alone III” led to the arrest of 10 men who drove from near and far to an undercover location where they thought they were meeting a minor.  Instead, the men were received by BSO deputies.

Reporter Ivan Taylor and the Telemundo 51 crew was there to capture the images of the men being taken into custody, and his report “Capturando Depredadores/Capturing Predators,” chronicling the operation, received top recognition at the Suncoast Emmy Award Ceremony held this past December 6 in Orlando.  The Telemundo team received the award for Best Crime Program.  But though the Telemundo crew gets to take home the Emmy statuettes for their great work, we know the ICAC detectives and their outstanding efforts were the stars of the show.  They don’t need to have an Emmy to earn our congratulations on a job well done!

Pictured: (back row) ICE Agent Mike Bentolila, Sgt. Giuseppe Weller, Lt. Robert Cates, and Forensics Technician Jim Medley. (Front Row) Admin Coordinator -Sharon Panter, SID Analyst-Tina McCoy, and Computer Forensics -Technician Jeanne Burtnett.

Operation Transit Shield

December 2, 2008

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Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti (center) introduces the Southeast Regional Domestic Security Task Force (SERDSTF) Chairperson, Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker (at left) and Co-chair, FDLE Special Agent in Charge Amos Rojas, Jr. (at right) at a news conference Monday afternoon unveiling “Operation Transit Shield,” a Rail Security Initiative that will start Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. Operation “Transit Shield” includes an awareness campaign that will involve two dozen federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, covering approximately 100 miles of passenger railway through Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. In addition to law enforcement, several other resources will participate in the initiative, including personnel from various transit systems, fire departments, first responders, communications, and critical infrastructures throughout South Florida.

There will be a visible presence of local, state and federal law enforcement at passenger rail stations in the tri-county region. One of the SERDSTF’s goals is community preparedness and participation. Through “Operation Transit Shield,” the public will be educated to remain vigilant and aware, reporting suspicious activity to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Broward Businesses Leave Their Registers Open & Empty

By placing a sticker in the window of Scott Pizzatti’s Pizza Friday in Deerfield Beach, BSO Deputy Jeremy Hansen helped launch the agency’s newest crime prevention program.

The Open & Empty program, which was modeled off of similar programs in use in Palm Beach County, is aimed at after-hours burglaries to businesses that have cash registers. The premise is simple. Before locking up each night, business owners empty their cash drawers of money and then leave them open and in plain view.

A sticker on the front door or window lets would-be burglars know that there is no cash to steal.

Caption: BSO Deputy Jeremy Hansen, who suggested starting the Open & Empty in Broward County after seeing it at work in Palm Beach County, stands with the owners of Scotti Pizzatti’s Pizza in Deerfield Beach. The restaurant has been hit by burglars twice this year. Though the owners already take the money from their register each night, they had to replace the front door that was shattered in the burglary.

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