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NEWS > 28 November 2006

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 Article sourced from

CBS 4 - Miami,FL,USA
28 November 2006
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Friends And Family In Police D

Jobs at the Miami-Dade Police training bureau are considered by some to be a cushy assignment, and they are the focus of a county probe to determine if nepotism played a role in certain assignments.

While the complaints of nepotism and racism in the Miami-Dade Police Department come from anonymous letters sent to Commissioner Joe Martinez, Rebecca Sosa and our news organization, County Manager George Burgess says he wants a full review of each issue raised.

He added that, “there are extremely serious allegations involved.” In a memo to Assistant County Manager Alina Hudak, Employee Relations Director Don Allen, and Corrections Lawyer Tyrone Williams the manager said “I want to make this review a top priority.”

"It should be an outside agency [investigating], whether it be FDLE or the FBI whether it be somebody else," said Commissioner Joe Martinez.

Martinez says he’s concerned this panel of three county officials is not the right choice.

"The background for investigations, they don't have it," he said. “Being county employees and gaining access to some things, I don't think they'll be able to achieve that."

The allegations of nepotism focus on the training bureau, which the anonymous letters refer to as ‘The Friends and Family Training Bureau’.

Lt. Veronica Parker, the wife of Police Director Robert Parker, county records say she makes $88,076 a year and gets overtime. The Parkers’ son also works there, Robert Parker Jr, a recent hire making $11.32 an hour doing data entry.

Also employed there is long time Lt. Evelyn Fernandez, the mayor’s girlfriend, making $84,798, plus overtime.

The mayor’s son Michael Alvarez also works there making $66,724 annually as an administrative officer.

Here is a list of others being investigated:
Ana Taylor: Wife of former police director Fred Taylor, works as a training specialist making $18.65 an hour.

Carol Patterson: Wife of Assistant Director J.D. Patterson, a full time training specialist making $40,082 a year.

Alexis Smith: Daughter of Division Chief Ricky Smith, earning $26,677 doing data entry.

Vanessa Atherly: Daughter of Assistant Director Robert Holden, making $76,238 a year.

Police spokeswoman Linda O'Brien, who spoke to us for our first report on the probe, declined our request for a second interview, saying the department will speak again on the matter once the probe is complete.

Mayor Alvarez also declined to speak to us after we made numerous requests. His spokesperson did give us this statement: “The mayor feels strongly that any and all allegations should be thoroughly investigated.”

"You are held to a higher standard so that's why it’s extremely important that this, these allegations come out crystal clear," said Martinez.

The head of the county’s ethics commission told CBS4’s Brian Andrews that he too has received several letters with allegations against the department in recent weeks. He says he’s going to wait to see the report from the county manager’s panel before starting his own investigation into the allegations.

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