Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Thank you!" Sheriff Ken Jenne

I would just like to say "Thank you!" to Broward County (Florida) Sheriff Ken Jenne. According to news reports Sheriff Jenne resigned Tuesday after he finally agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud and federal tax evasion charges. Sheriff Jenne will reportedly plead guilty to one (1) count of mail fraud and three (3) counts of tax evasion. Jenne faced a possible grand jury indictment on more serious charges, which even included money-laundering, and his plea agreement apparently helps him avoid these other charges. Jenne won't get off lightly though, and the once powerful Democrat, because of federal sentencing guidelines, will more than likely go to prison for up to two years.. The guilty plea also means that Jenne will probably be barred from holding any future public office and he will likely lose his license to practice law in Florida. His State of Florida pension could also be adversely effected too.

In 1998, then-Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Jenne to be the sheriff of Broward County, Florida's second-most populous county. Jenne, who was a lawyer and a veteran politician, had no previous law enforcement experience. He replaced Ron Cochran, an ex-Chief of Police from Fort Lauderdale P.D. Sheriff Cochran died in office while he was the Broward County Sheriff. Jenne was re-elected in both 2000 and 2004 and he would eventually run a law enforcement agency that had over 6,000 employees and an annual budget of almost $700 million dollars.

Tuesday morning, after Jenne's resignation was official, in an e-mail to his employees he said, "Today, I'm retiring from public service." He went on to say, "I need to turn my attention to myself and my family." His e-mail ended with, "Stand tall. Stand proud. Stay safe." What a bunch of crap!!!!!!!

My "Thank you!" to Sheriff Jenne is, of course, a purely sarcastic comment. Sheriff Jenne, Broward County's top cop, disgraced himself, and his office. But, what is really pathetic is the fact that his deputies will now have to be the ones to continue on with Jenne's tainted legacy hanging over them. How many citizens in Broward County will lose some respect for the agency and the proud men and women who serve there, just because Ken Jenne could not tell right from wrong.

I'm confident the men and women of the B.S.O. will "Stand Tall" and they will "Stand proud." And, I'm sure they will prevail and eventually move on and outlive this disgrace that Jenne has brought upon the Office of the Sheriff of Broward County. But, because of his disruptive and demoralizing actions will they be able to "Stay safe" too. I hope so.

Prosecutors working the Jenne investigation were ready in mid-August to finalize the plea the sheriff would eventually offer, but then on August 10, 2007, B.S.O. Sergeant Chris Reyka was murdered and this delayed the entire process a little longer. It was felt that it would be inappropriate, and probably very disruptive, to remove the sheriff at such a critical moment, so Jenne was given a brief reprieve, albeit for just a few weeks.

The brutal murder of Sgt. Reyka was a crime that shocked the citizens of Broward County. The viciousness displayed by the killer as he gunned down the veteran officer was unusual, even by south Florida standards where brutal and cruel sometimes seemed almost routine. To this day, the crime still has not been solved and the reward for information about the suspect(s) responsible is well in excess of $250,000.

There is also a very touching video tribute to Sgt. Reyka and I would urge anyone who reads this blog to view it.

Ken Jenne and Sgt. Chris Reyka both belonged to a very fine law enforcement organization, the Broward County Sheriff's Office. One man, Jenne, disgraced himself and cast a cloud over this agency he managed; but the second man, Chris Reyka, stood for honor, integrity and duty. I'm almost ashamed to mention Sgt. Reyka in the same post as I do Ken Jenne, but unfortunately their stories and lives, though very much different, are indelibly interwoven. What is important is that we never forget the sacrifices that men, and women, like Chris Reyka make on our behalf. Their unselfish devotion to duty, sometimes even giving their lives in the process, can easily make me forget about the Ken Jenne's of this world.

"Thank You!" Sheriff Jenne. Yeah, thanks for nothing!

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